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New vaccine to enhance Foot and Mouth Disease Control

Posted by Teresa Steckler -

U.K. scientists have developed a safer way to produce a vaccine for foot and mouth disease (FMD) that will help improve global efforts to control the disease, according to the U.K.'s Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The new vaccine is safer to produce, the scientists say, because it is all synthetic, consisting of tiny protein shells designed to trigger optimum immune response, and doesn't require growing live infectious viruses.

The empty shells also are more stable, making the vaccine easier to store and reducing the need for a cold chain.

"What we have achieved here is close to the holy grail of foot-and-mouth vaccines," said Professor David Stuart, Life Science Director at Diamond Light Source and MRC Professor of Structural Biology at the Department of Medicine University of Oxford. "Unlike the traditional vaccines, there is no chance that the empty shell vaccine could revert to an infectious form. This work will have a broad and enduring impact on vaccine development, and the technology should be transferable to other viruses from the same family, such as poliovirus and hand foot and mouth disease, a human virus which is currently endemic in South-East Asia."



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