Navigation Links
UCF professor develops vaccine to protect against black plague bioterror attack
Date:7/30/2008

A University of Central Florida researcher may have found a defense against the Black Plague, a disease that wiped out a third of Europe's population in the Middle Ages and which government agencies perceive as a terrorist threat today.

UCF Professor Henry Daniell and his team have developed a vaccine that early research shows is highly effective against the plague. Findings of his National Institutes of Health and USDA funded research appear in the August edition of Infection and Immunity. The vaccine, which is taken orally or by injection, was given to rats at UCF and the efficacy was evaluated by measuring immunity (antibody) developed in their blood.

All untreated rats died within three days while all orally immunized animals survived this challenge with no traces of the plague in their bodies. The rats were exposed to a heavy dose of Yersinia Pestis bacteria, which causes the plague, at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland. It is one of a few labs in the world authorized to store and work with the highly dangerous agent.

"We are very excited because it appears the oral vaccine is even more effective than traditional injectable vaccine," Daniell said. "This could really make a difference."

In the event of a bioterror attack, the oral form makes the vaccine practical, as the distribution of pills would be much quicker and likely more effective because no special skills or sterile needles are needed to administer them.

"It worked beautifully," Daniell said. "It's expensive to create an injectible vaccine. But with oral vaccines, it is quite cheap. You grow your plants and then you convert them into capsules."

The plague had a deadly impact on early Europe, it continues to make appearances today in places like Africa and Asia. The World Health Organization reports at least 2,000 cases of the plague annually. The most recent outbreak in 2005 killed 56 people in the Congo and another 124 were infected before the epidemic was stopped. In the mid 1990s more than 400 people were infected in India.

Although human trials are still needed, Daniell is confident the vaccine will work for the bubonic and pneumonic plague based on animal studies. Pneumonic plague is spread through the air. Without treatment a person can die within days. Bubonic plague is the more common form and is transmitted through fleabites and kills about 70 percent of those infected within 4-7 days if not treated. It was the version that ravaged Europe. If the early findings hold true, this vaccine could mean an extra layer of protection against natural epidemics and man-made threats.

The Centers for Disease Control lists the pneumonic plague as a potential bioterrorism agent because of the speed of which it can be spread and its 60 percent fatality rate if not treated early enough with an aggressive array of antibiotics.

Daniell was inspired to investigate an oral vaccine for the plague because of his pioneering work in diabetes. He and his team genetically engineered tobacco and lettuce plants with the insulin gene and then administered freeze-dried plant cells to five-week-old diabetic mice for eight weeks. By the end of this study, the diabetic mice had normal blood and urine sugar levels, and their cells were producing normal levels of insulin.

Daniell figured the same approach might work with a vaccine. He genetically engineered plant cells with a protein found on the outside of Yersinia pestis. The vaccine was inside the plant cells, which were given to the rats. The vaccine was protected from digestion in the stomach and was then absorbed in the gut. It kick started the immune system into producing antibodies, which protects against the deadly disease. Three to five doses seem to do the trick.

Daniell, who was born and raised in India, has dedicated his life to finding treatments and cures to diseases that ravage poor countries. He is conducting research into seven of the top 10 diseases ranked by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, which remain real issues developing nations.

"I've seen the need. There may be some very expensive treatments available," Daniell said. "But they are so expensive that developing countries can't access them. I want to help change that."


'/>"/>

Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zkotala@mail.ucf.edu
407-446-6567
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UT Knoxville professor finds unexpected key to flowering plants diversity
2. National Institutes of Health award Williams professor $217,710 research grant
3. NJIT architect professor advocates best-building practices for high wind regions
4. Professor Brian Greenwood awarded first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Award
5. McMaster University engineering professor receives Humboldt Research Award
6. USF professor gives historical look at physiology and WWII air war
7. NYU dental professor discovers biological clock linking tooth growth to other metabolic processes
8. MIT professor to discuss future of biofuels
9. ASU professor helps solve mystery of glassy water
10. Professors video series explains all facets of Earth
11. JDRF awards University of Copenhagen professor with grant to conduct innovative diabetes research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... , June 30, 2017 Today, ... developer and supplier of face and eye tracking ... Featured Product provider program. "Artificial ... innovative way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels ... from being able to detect fatigue and prevent ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups ... collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built with ... France is one of the ... percent increase in the number of startups created between 2012 ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), ... and identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate ... May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... Trade Center. Identity impacts the lives ... today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... for two-dimensional representations of a complex biological network, a depiction of a system ... big mess,” said Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science at Worcester ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy of the FebriDx® test, a ... significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections by testing the body’s ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and ... researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most personal eye wash can ... a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and likely quicker response time ... , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, getting anything in your ...
Breaking Biology Technology: