DNA vaccine to protect against more virulent ‘uncommon cold’

February 3rd, 2009 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 3 (IANS) A DNA-based vaccine developed by US and Chinese researchers has proven effective in protecting mice models against the adenovirus infection that causes severe “uncommon cold.” Adenovirus type-3 is known as the “uncommon cold” because its symptoms - runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever - are eerily similar to those of the common cold which is caused by the rhinovirus.

But unlike the common cold, its symptoms are typically much more severe and can even be fatal.

Adenovirus outbreaks are difficult to control because the virus can live for weeks on environmental surfaces and spreads quickly through direct contact, aerosols and contaminated drinking water.

Adenovirus-3 thrives in places with dense urban populations and has recently become prevalent in southern China and neighbouring countries. It may also affect other populated places like schools, health care facilities and military bases in the US.

Researchers from George Mason University (GMU) in the US, University of Hong Kong, Guangzhou Children’s Hospital, South China Institute of Technology and Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed the vaccine.

“Further study is required, but we hope that in the future, this simple, stable and inexpensive vaccine can be mass-produced and made available to susceptible populations,” a GMU release cited GMU associate professor Donald Seto, the only US-based researcher in the study, as saying.

Their findings will appear in the February 18 edition of the Vaccine.

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