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Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

Colorized micrograph of MERS coronavirus Credit: NIAID

Colorized micrograph of MERS coronavirus
Credit: NIAID

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. Vaccinated mice produced broadly neutralizing antibodies against multiple strains of the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), while vaccinated macaques were protected from severe lung damage when later exposed to MERS-CoV. The findings suggest that the current approach, in which vaccine design is guided by an understanding of structure of viral components and their interactions with host cells, holds promise for developing a similar human MERS vaccine regimen. Read More.

Published by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases July 28, 2015

Fruit Fly Genetics Reveal Pesticide Resistance and Insight Into Cancer

Snip20160824_1For being so small, fruit flies have had a large impact on genetic research. Thomas Werner, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, has bridged the miniscule and the massive in an effort to better understand the mechanisms behind several unique features of fruit fly genes.

Over the past week, several studies that Werner co-authored have been published in PLoS ONE, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Education. All are linked by Drosophila—a genus of fruit flies—and the insights that fruit fly genetics provide on human health, specifically cancer-causing genes. Check out their project on the Michigan Tech Superior Ideas, too. Read More.

Published by Michigan Tech July 1, 2015


Mice help researchers investigate a common TB vaccine to be used as a treatment for type 1 diabetes


A medical worker receives a shot at a hospital in Tokyo. Photo credit VOA

A common tuberculosis vaccine is being investigated as a treatment for type 1 diabetes, which is caused by an attack on the body’s own tissues and affects mostly young people. The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine has shown promise in reversing some of the symptoms of diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.

The BCG vaccine is the most commonly administered vaccine in the world, given to newborns in countries where tuberculosis is still prevalent. It increases the production of TNF, a hormone that kills off the TB bacterium. Read More.

Published by Voice of America June 8, 2015