First MERS Vaccine Works On Animals

Posted: Aug 20 2015, 9:47am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

First MERS Vaccine Works on Animals
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus particle envelope proteins immunolabeled with Rabbit HCoV-EMC/2012 primary antibody and Goat anti-Rabbit 10 nm gold particles. CREDIT: NIAID
  • New synthetic vaccine successful in trumping MERS in animal

Researchers have tested a new synthetic vaccine that can generate antibodies against MERS and build up immunity in animals.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS has raised significant concern globally. As the world travelling and business deals has made distances shorter to travel.

They have also played a part in the transmission of diseases across the globe. And it is transmitted through the carriers that travel. MERS is caused by an emerging human coronavirus. It is distinct from the SARS coronavirus.

Since its identification in 2012, MERS has been linked to over 1,300 infections. And killed close to 400 people. It has occurred in the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, and in the U.S.

The most recent occurring was the 2015 outbreak in South Korea. It caused a great concern as the infection spread from a single patient to infect more than 181 people.

The outbreak resulted in hospital closings, severe economic impact, and more than 30 deaths. During this outbreak rapid human-to-human transmission was documented. And this transmission was done with in-hospital transmission the most common route of infection.

There is a significant recent increase in MERS cases. This increase is coupled with the lack of effective antiviral therapies or vaccines. /no proper way to treat or prevent this infection have raised significant concern. Accordingly the development of a vaccine for MERS became high priority.

David B. Weiner, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and colleagues were on the job. They have produced a novel synthetic DNA vaccine. It can induce protective immunity against the MERS coronavirus in animal species. This happened for the first time.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania noted this. The experimental, preventive vaccine, given six weeks before exposure to the MERS virus. And it was found to fully protect rhesus macaques from disease.

The vaccine also generated potentially protective antibodies in blood drawn from camels. Camels are the purported source of MERS transmission in the Middle East.

The successful results indicate that this vaccine could used to break MERS transmission cycle. The researchers claim that this vaccine could decrease person-to-person spread of infection. And it can stop MRES to become an outbreak. And it can also help to protect health care workers or exposed individuals.

"This study was only possible by bringing together an international group of investigators with the necessary skills, including, the lab of Heinz Feldman at the NIH, Gary Kobinger from the Canadian government, scientists from Inovio who developed the plasmid delivery technology, along with Penn colleagues," said first author Karuppiah Muthumani, PhD, a research assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

"This simple synthetic vaccine has the potential to overcome important production and deployment limitations, and what's more, the vaccine is non-live, so does not pose a risk of spreading to unintended individuals."

Weiner and colleagues published their work in Science Translational Medicine (STM) this week. The work was funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01-AI092843) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., PA.

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