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Crop Biotech Update

University at Buffalo Researchers Develop Vaccine that Strikes Only When Needed

June 8, 2016

The University at Buffalo (UB) has developed a new vaccine that allows bacteria to colonize the body, but acts only when the bacteria pose a threat. This approach offers the most direct and broad response to infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, commonly known as pneumococcus.

Current vaccines teach the immune system to destroy bacteria and other pathogens. The UB and Abcombi-led team took a different approach. The vaccine identifies strains via proteins attached to the surface of pneumococcus. It allows bacteria to exist as long as it causes no harm to the body. It instructs the immune system to attack only when the surface proteins break free of the bacterial coating.

The vaccine can defend against more than 12 strains and is 100 percent effective at promoting the appropriate immune response. Computer simulations indicate the vaccine would be effective against all strains but additional tests are needed to confirm that. Having proved the vaccine's efficacy in animals, Abcombi is now leading efforts to conduct human trials.

For more on this promising technology, read the article at the University at Buffalo website.