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A new anthrax vaccine is under development

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
New York (UPI) Sep 9, 2009
Researchers in New York say they have identified two protein fragments that could be developed into a new anthrax vaccine.

Scientists from Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine said their research suggests the protein fragments could lead to a vaccine with fewer side effects than the current vaccine.

"Our research was motivated by the fact that the current anthrax vaccine has significant limitations and there is great need for a better one," said postdoctoral fellow Nareen Abboud, lead author of the study.

Anthrax results, in part, from toxic proteins, or toxins, that the multiplying bacteria secrete, the researchers said, noting the current anthrax vaccine employs one of those proteins, which elicits protective antibodies when injected into people. While the 40-year-old vaccine can prevent disease, it has significant drawbacks such as providing temporary immunity and the need for administering five injections during the course of 18 months,

"An ideal anthrax vaccine contains only the proteins needed to provide protection against disease, and none of the extraneous protein material that triggers the adverse reactions caused by the current vaccine," Abboud said. "We're hopeful that the two peptides that we have identified in this study can offer these benefits."

The study appears in the Sept. 4 early online edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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