Scientists Developed a Vaccine That Could Protect 350 Million Lives
The scientists have been successful in developing a vaccine to fight with a disease that is causing muscle ache, skin rash, and even hemorrhagic fever.
However, this vaccine still needs to be studied that it can surely protect people from all four strains of the virus, and will also be effective against other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
THE NANOPARTICLE VACCINE
There has been a study published in one of the journals, PLOS Neglected Tropical Disease. This details how a team of researchers, at the University of Carolina, have successfully vaccinated a mice for a serotype (strain) of dengue virus. This can potentially help in quelling the 350 million instances from over 120 countries of dengue fever every year.
So far, the vaccine is made different from the previous attempts that were using live dengue viruses as they featured nanoparticles. Using Particle Replication in Non-wetting Template (PRINT) technology, researchers Stefan Metz, Shaomin Tian, Aravinda de Silva, Chris Luft and Joe DeSimon designed various shapes and sizes of nanoparticles- the shapes and sizes of these particles ranged from 55×70 nm to 200×200 nm. These particles were then studded with DENV2-E proteins, a key protein from dengue serotype 2.
During the tests processes, thirty-one mice were immunized either with one of five distinct iterations of the nanoparticle vaccine or a control injection that has some soluble DENV2-E proteins. For monitoring the immune responses, blood samples along with the bone marrow and lymph node samples were extracted from the mice at different points of the immunization and four times after two boosters were given.
The latter results have shown that the mice that were vaccinated with nanoparticle formulations had much stronger immune responses than those who were not vaccinated.
TOUGH LITTLE BUGGER
The authors have stated that “Though only focusing on DENV2, these findings form the basis of a safe and efficacious dengue virus candidate”. This notorious virus has been very difficult to be vaccinated against as it already has four different strains.
The previous vaccination attempts against the dengue virus have been leading to the imbalances of the immunity to the four distinct strains. Not only this, but these can also make the other strains more severe. The researchers have been confident about the further study stating that they could develop quite similar nanoparticles for all four strains.
Besides, this study can also help in the researches being done against the other mosquito-carried diseases like Chikungunya Virus, Dengue Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, Japanese Encephalitis Virus, La Crosse Encephalitis, Malaria, St. Louis Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, and Zika Virus.
“In addition, this platform can be used to develop safe vaccine candidates for other flaviviruses such as Zika virus, where pregnant women are the target group for vaccination.”
The Zika Virus
This virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys and is a mosquito-borne flavivirus. This virus in monkeys was identified through a network that was monitoring yellow fever. The virus was also found challenging the human life and was later found in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. The main transmission of this virus was through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus and was mainly Aedes aegypti in the tropical regions. However, the mosquito was same as that was found transmitting the viruses like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.