Scientists have developed a new methodology to produce a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). Because the vaccine is all synthetic, made up of tiny protein shells designed to trigger optimum immune response, it doesn’t rely on growing live infectious virus and is therefore much safer to produce.
Furthermore, these empty shells have been engineered to be more stable; making the vaccine much easier to store and reducing the need for a cold chain. This is important research because it represents a big step forward in the global campaign to control FMDV in countries where the disease is endemic, and could significantly reduce the threat to countries currently free of the disease. Crucially, this new approach to making and stabilising vaccine could also impact on how viruses from the same family are fought, including polio.
This collaborative research was led by Professor David Stuart, Life Science Director at Diamond Light Source and MRC Professor of Structural Biology at the Department of Medicine University of Oxford and Dr Bryan Charleston, Head of Livestock Viral Diseases Programme at The Pirbright Institute.
Wednesday March 27/ Diamond Light/ United Kingdom.