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Vaccine research

Vaccine for human respiratory syncytial virus on the horizon

Respiratory-syncytial-virus

Source: Hipersynteza/Science Photo Library

A vaccine against human respiratory synctial virus (pictured) is being researched by a team in Belgium

Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) is a major cause of respiratory tract infections in infants. High-risk children may receive prophylactic palivizumab therapy; however, no effective antiviral or anti-inflammatory treatment exists.

A vaccine against HRSV may now be on the horizon, following work by Bert Schepens and Xavier Saelens from Ghent University, Belgium, and team, published in EMBO Molecular Medicine[1] (online, 8 October 2014). They have developed a vaccine based on the extracellular domain of the Small Hydrophobic protein (SHe) of HRSV and found that it induced immune protection in mice and rats, acting via a mechanism that differs from the natural immune response.

“The SHe-based vaccine could be linked to other candidate vaccines directed against the larger envelope proteins of the virus, to double hit the virus,” the researchers suggest. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066949

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