An experimental vaccine against the SARS coronavirus has yielded promising results in mice. The gene-based technique is described in 01 April 2004 issue of Nature (Vol. 428, No. 6982, pp. 561-564).
Gary J. Nabel and colleagues have made a DNA vaccine that codes for a surface protein of the SARS coronavirus. Treatment with the vaccine stimulates an antibody response and induces protective immunity to the SARS virus in mice. Viral replication also drops by over 6 orders of magnitude in the lungs of vaccinated rodents.
DNA vaccines are a relatively new idea. They are known to induce immunity in animal models of influenza, HIV, Ebola and other viruses, but have only recently begun to be tested in humans. The new therapy points to gene-based vaccination as a possible way of protecting against SARS, but the limitations of the animal models of the disease mean that a lot needs to be done before a human vaccine becomes practicable.
Gary J. Nabel
Vaccine Research Center
Tel: +1 301 496 1852
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza