BOSTON (November 16, 2010) Researchers have developed a promising new approach to vaccination for rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrheal disease that is responsible for approximately 500,000 deaths among children in the developing world every year. In a study published in the November issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, a vaccine delivered as nasal drops effectively induced an immune response in mice and protected them from rotavirus infection. The new vaccine delivery system has also been tested successfully and found to be heat stable with tetanus and is currently being tested with diphtheria and pertussis.
The team from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and Tufts University School of Medicine collaborated with researchers from Boston and Tulane Universities to test the effectiveness of immunization with harmless bacteria that were engineered to display rotavirus protein.
"The new vaccine, in conjunction with an agent that enhances immunity, induced sufficient antibody formation against rotavirus to protect mice against infection when the mice were exposed to rotavirus three weeks after their third immunization," explained John E. Herrmann, PhD, research professor in the infectious diseases division of the department of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the senior author of the published study.
"We created the rotavirus vaccine using a harmless bacterium called Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis), which we can modify to display on its surface or in its cytoplasm proteins from infectious bacteria and viruses. When people are exposed to these proteins, they develop antibodies against them and therefore become immune to the bacteria and viruses," said the study's first author Sangun Lee, PhD, DVM, research associate at the Cummings School. "The B. subtilis bacteria are so harmless that they are part of the normal diet in several
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Tufts University, Health Sciences