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Thread: Scientists Test West Nile Vaccine in Monkeys (and it only took a few years go figure, what about SCI?)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Jul 2001

    Scientists Test West Nile Vaccine in Monkeys (and it only took a few years go figure, what about SCI?)

    Scientists Test West Nile Vaccine in Monkeys

    Mon Aug 18, 4:45 PM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government researchers tinkering with a vaccine against dengue fever said on Monday they had created a promising vaccine against West Nile virus (news - web sites).

    They hope to start testing it on people by the end of the year and said it offers the potential of lifetime protection against the virus.

    West Nile virus first appeared in the United States in 1999 but has quickly spread across most of the country and into Canada. This year it has infected 470 Americans so far and killed 10, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites).

    Seen mostly in Africa and parts of southern Europe, the virus does not cause serious symptoms in most healthy people but can cause damaging encephalitis -- a brain inflammation -- and death in the weak and elderly.

    A team of vaccine experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (news - web sites), headed by Dr. Brian Murphy, began to develop a vaccine soon after the virus appeared in the United States. They decided to adapt one they were working on to fight dengue fever, another sometimes deadly virus carried by mosquitoes.

    They made two versions, weakening the dengue fever virus so it could not cause a full-blown infection, and adding genetic material from the West Nile virus. One version attenuated, or weakened, the dengue virus more than the other.

    The genetic material they used -- in this case RNA -- came from the envelope protein of the West Nile virus. The hope is that it will look enough like the virus to prime the immune system to attack and neutralize it.


    Tests on monkeys showed both versions would protect them against West Nile infection, Murphy's team reported in the September issue of the journal Virology. Twelve monkeys given the vaccines and then injected with West Nile virus were all protected, the researchers reported.

    Having the experimental dengue vaccine on hand provided a short-cut, Murphy told Reuters, because creating a West Nile vaccine from scratch would have taken years.

    He said this vaccine has advantages over an older vaccine used to protect horses, which uses a killed version of the West Nile virus. "The advantage of live attenuated vaccines is they give you long-term immunity," he said.

    Because West Nile is now in North America to stay, and because it will be a threat to people every year a one-time vaccination was desirable.

    "The infections are relatively infrequent in people and you have maybe a 1 percent or 2 percent chance per year of being infected. You'd like one shot that gives you protection for a very long period of time," Murphy said. "The major targets for this vaccine are going to be the elderly."

    Murphy said his team will first test the most weakened of the two vaccines in people in the hope that it will provide protection with the least risk of side-effects.

    Dengue is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans, with 2.5 billion people at risk. Dengue hemorrhagic fever kills about five percent of patients, making it much more deadly than West Nile virus.

    "Each year, tens of millions of cases of dengue fever occur and, depending on the year, up to hundreds of thousands of cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever," the CDC said in a statement.


  2. #2
    Senior Member DA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    beaumont tx usa
    if someone can figure out how to profit off west nile being chronic in ppl, that vaccine is disappear from face of the earth.

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