Friday, August 30, 2013

Experimental Vaccine 'Neutralizes' MERS in Mice

MERS Coronavirus 
The American Society for Microbiology has reported a possible breakthrough in development of an experimental vaccine against the deadly MERS virus by a team of German and Dutch researchers.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has been confirmed in 104 cases on the Arabian Peninsula and Europe and is responsible for at least 49 deaths to date. The majority of victims were from Saudi Arabia or had recently traveled there.

The announcement was made in the Journal of Virology and states:
"Vaccinated mice produced high levels of serum antibodies neutralizing MERS-CoV. Thus, MVA-MERS-S may serve for further development of an emergency vaccine against MERS-CoV."
The new drug, MVA-MERS-S, is a combination of a weakened form of smallpox and a protein from the MERS Corona virus which allows the vaccine to bind to human receptors.

According to this article from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, this is just the first phase of a long process of testing and trials, licencing and manufacturing before a safe and effective vaccine can be mass produced.

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