New MERS vaccine promising in animal studies

New MERS vaccine promising in animal studies | Courtesy of

A new Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) vaccine has shown positive results provoking immune responses in rhesus macaques and mice.

As of today, there is no licensed vaccine to fight against MERS. MERS first broke out in 2012. In May 2015, there was an outbreak located in the Republic of Korea. As of July 15, 2015, there have been over 180 confirmed infections of MERS with the outbreak in South Korea. Thirty-six of these infections have resulted in death.

The team of researchers applied structural information about the spike glycoprotein, part of the viral protein, which is used by the virus to enter cells.

The researchers then designed a variety of experimental vaccines to give to mice. This study included a two-step regimen as well as an initial injection to prime the subjects. Several weeks after receiving the vaccinations, the subjects received another dose of either a different or the same booster vaccine.

The mice with the vaccinations showed more broadly neutralizing antibodies to fight against several strains of the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Rhesus macaques that received the vaccination showed significant protection against severe lung damage when they had later exposure to MERS-CoV.

These results show that the new approach for the vaccine design uses a better understanding of the structure of viral components as well as their interactions between host cells. This shows promise for future MERS vaccine regimens for humans.

Organizations in this story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806 Bethesda, MD - 20892-9806

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