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New Vaccine Strategy May Protect Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus

A new vaccine strategy inducing antibodies capable of blocking interaction among disease-causing proteins may offer a safe and effective approach against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The researchers from the University of Georgia, Athens and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia report their findings in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Virology.

RSV is a significant human virus that can cause life-threatening respiratory illness in infants, young children, and the elderly. Several prior attempts at RSV vaccine candidates have failed due to lack of protection and greater risk of serious disease. Previous studies have provided strong evidence that G protein peptides can induce protective immunity against RSV, however, CX3C-CX3CR1 G protein interaction may contribute to disease pathogenesis making it an important target for RSV prevention.

In the study researchers studied mice vaccinated with G protein peptides or polypeptides containing the CX3C for antibody production and disease prevention. Results showed that vaccinated mice generated antibodies capable of inhibiting G protein CX3C-CX3CR1 interaction, reducing viral level in the lungs, and minimizing weight loss and pulmonary inflammation.

"The results suggest that RSV vaccines that induce antibodies that block G protein CX3C-CX3CR1 interaction may offer a new, safe, and efficacious RSV vaccine strategy," say the researchers.

(W. Zhang, Y. Choi, L.M. Haynes, J.L. Harcourt, L.J. Anderson, L.P. Jones, R.A. Tripp. 2010. Vaccination to induce antibodies blocking the CX3C-CX3CR1 interaction of respiratory syncytial virus G protein reduces pulmonary inflammation and virus replication in mice. Journal of Virology, 84. 2: 1148-1157.)