A vaccine being developed for H5N1 virus has been found to protect against other variations too. Sanofi Pasteur, a unit of Sanofi–Aventis stumbled upon this when it conducted fresh tests on the experimental vaccine. In a statement, Sanofi affirmed that the positive results proved that it is possible to formulate a vaccine that would induce “the formation of antibodies capable of neutralizing the most recent strains of the H5N1 virus”. These strains include the ones that have been making the rounds of Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, the fight against malaria got much needed encouragement when an experimental malaria vaccine showed promising results. According to reviewers from the Cochrane Library, tests showed that the vaccine decreased the number of clinical malaria episodes by 26 per cent for up to 18 months after vaccination. The number of episodes in children reduced by 58 per cent. The vaccine, RTS,S assaults the malaria causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum when it has just entered the human body with a mosquito bite. Scientists from the Walter Reed Army Research Institute developed the vaccine in association with GlaxoSmithKline. A second vaccine, MSP/RESA or Combination B attacks the parasite at a later stage of the disease and the reviewers see much promise in it too.
American scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed a vaccine for the deadly 1918 influenza virus, nearly a hundred years after it wrought havoc. The vaccine was found to be effective when tested on mice. Mice injected with the vaccine did not succumb when exposed to a reconstructed 1918 virus. The researchers hope that this vaccine will provide a successful basis for formulating vaccines against other influenza strains.
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