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Scientists use computer algorithms to develop seasonal flu vaccines
Date:7/9/2010

ithms indicate the best places in the genome to make the changes, such that the new synthetic genome encodes exactly the same proteins as the wild-type genome, but in lesser quantities.

This process allows a wide margin of safety, explains Papamichail. "The probability of all the changes reverting themselves to produce a virulent strain is extremely unlikely," he says.

Although the new sequence and the original sequence both direct the synthesis of exactly the same proteins, the new sequence gives a weakened version of the virus; for that reason the live vaccine is capable of eliciting an immune reaction against the wild-type virus, but is not strong enough to cause disease symptoms. This method used to weaken the influenza virus is a general one, and may allow the creation of safe, effective vaccines against many different types of viruses.

In the future, the researchers would like to explore the applicability of their techniques, with the ultimate goal of methodically and computationally design from scratch synthetic organisms with predetermined functions and controlled properties, with broad applications in medicine.


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Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz
m.gumadiaz@umiami.edu
305-284-1601
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert

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