The first diagnosis of MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was confirmed in the Middle East, precisely Saudi Arabia, in the year 2012. Since then researchers have been preparing to enter clinical tests on a vaccine for the virus.
After the first diagnosis of the virus, over 1333 cases have been confirmed, which includes the recent outbreak in North Korea.
The safety-tested Modified Vaccinia virus called Ankara or MVA is capable of synthesizing a certain protein that binds on to the surface of infected cells. The immune system can then identify these cells and then produce antibodies as well as T cells to fight infection.
In the laboratory, the mice that were vaccinated were exposed to high levels of MERS. The virus did not replicate in vaccinated mice, thus meeting the requirements for human clinical tests of the same vaccine to be begun.
Professor Gerd Sutter, chair of virology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich’s Institute for Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, said, “This demonstrates that our vaccine candidate is both safe and effective. Thus, there is no obvious risk that the resulting immune response might exacerbate rather than prevent the infection”.
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