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Biological Warfare

Experimental Anthrax Vaccine Protects Against Bacterium and

20 years, 3 months ago

13002  0
Posted on Jan 28, 2004, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

US researchers are developing a vaccine that protects against the anthrax bacterium and the lethal toxins it produces. The experimental vaccine, which is being developed by Dr Julia A Wang from Brigham and Women's Hospital and colleagues, is unique as it combats both components of the disease. To make the vaccine the researchers joined a compound called poly-gamma-D-glutamic acid (PGA), which helps the anthrax bacterium multiply in the body, to a component of the toxin anthrax produces called protective antigen (PA).

US researchers are developing a vaccine that protects against the anthrax bacterium and the lethal toxins it produces. The experimental vaccine, which is being developed by Dr Julia A Wang from Brigham and Women's Hospital and colleagues, is unique as it combats both components of the disease. To make the vaccine the researchers joined a compound called poly-gamma-D-glutamic acid (PGA), which helps the anthrax bacterium multiply in the body, to a component of the toxin anthrax produces called protective antigen (PA). Results of a study on mice showed that those given the vaccine developed high serum levels of antibodies against both PGA and PA. Further tests showed that antibodies against PGA led to the destruction of the anthrax bacteria, while antibodies against PA neutralized the toxin and protected the mice from its deadly effects. Such results suggest that the vaccine may be of prophylactic use, i.e. to prevent infection, and of therapeutic use in those already infected.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: PNAS published online before print September 5th, 2003. 10.1073/pnas.1834478100

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