Navigation Links
UCF professor develops vaccine to protect against black plague bioterror attack
Date:11/13/2008

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 technology :

1. Yale professor T.P. Ma awarded the Connecticut Medal of Technology
2. Stuart Parkin first distinguished professor at Eindhoven University of Technology
3. UCF professor develops vaccine to protect against black plague bioterror attack
4. Professor-turned-producer learns the movie biz
5. Professors Marc Feldmann and Sir Ravinder Maini Named Winners of the 2008 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
6. Professor Toh-Ming Lu named fellow of the Materials Research Society
7. Professor Straufs research is Nature Photonics’ cover article
8. Cambridge Major Appoints Professor John Hartwig as Scientific Advisor
9. Helix Biopharma announces addition of University of Arizona professor Kenneth Hatch as new medical advisor
10. Dr. Thomas Van Dyke Renowned Boston University Professor Joins Imagenetixs Medical Advisory Board
11. Japanese Cancer Association and Debiopharm Honour Professors Minoru Toyota and Keiichi Nakayama With the 2007 JCA-Mauvernay Award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... OXFORD, England , December 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... (OGT), das Unternehmen für Molekulargenetik, erweitert seine Palette ... SureSeq myPanel™ NGS Custom FH Panels, das ein ... Hypercholesterinämie (FH) ermöglicht. Das Panel bietet eine Erkennung ... Number Variations (CNV) mit einem einzigen kleinen Panel ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... KBioBox ... response to client demand KbioBox developed a sophisticated “3 click” gene dditing off ... accessible from KBioBox’s new website, https://www.kbiobox.com/ and powered by the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... ... This CAST literature review and report looks at problems caused by the current ... in countries that are major global commodity exporters and importers, which show that asynchrony ... level presence (LLP) puts large volumes of trade worth billions of dollars at risk. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... TAMPA, Fla. , Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and plans to ... today that its shares of common stock were approved ... stock will begin trading on the OTCQX, effective ... To qualify for the OTCQX market, companies must ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/29/2016)... 2016   Neurotechnology , a provider ... technologies, today released FingerCell 3.0, a software ... that run on low-power, low-memory microcontrollers. FingerCell ... than 128KB of memory, enabling it to ... limited on-board resources, such as: mobile phones, ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... 2016 According to the new market research report ... Vein, Signature, Voice), Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware and Software), Function (Contact and Non-contact), ... market is expected to grow from USD 10.74 Billion in 2015 to ... 2016 and 2022. Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... , Nov. 17, 2016 Global Market Watch: ... Biobanks (Disease-Based Banks, Population-Based Banks and Academics) market is to ... for Private Biobanks shows the highest Compounded Annual Growth Rate ... region during the analysis period 2014-2020. North ... of 9.95% followed by Europe at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):