Study suggests one vaccine may prevent chikungunya and similar viruses
These antibodies have potential to protect people from infections that involve multiple, distantly related alphaviruses that cause crippling joint pain and fever.
"There is a lot of emphasis on identifying and understanding broadly neutralizing antibodies for other viruses -- HIV, hepatitis C virus, dengue virus, influenza virus -- but most of those antibodies neutralize different strains of the same virus," Michael Diamond, senior author and a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Development in the Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs, said. "What we've identified here are antibodies that actually neutralize several different alphaviruses."
This discovery could help researchers find other ways to create one treatment or vaccine for multiple alphaviruses.
"If you can make an antibody response against this region, you may be able to protect against many viruses in the family," Diamond said. "Our group is making proteins now that focus on this epitope, and we're planning to start immunizing animals soon to see if we generate the right kinds of antibodies."