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Outfoxing pox: Developing a new class of vaccine candidates

Tags: arizona state university, biodesign institute, infectious diseases, vaccines

[Source: Eureka Alert] - In the annals of medicine, Edward Jenner's 1796 vaccination of a young boy against smallpox, using fluid from cowpox blisters, remains a landmark case. In a new study, Kathryn Sykes, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and her colleagues have taken a fresh look at cowpox. Their findings, appearing in the advanced online issue of Virology, demonstrate that this ancient pathogen still has much to teach us, and may hasten development of novel vaccines against smallpox and other pox-like diseases.

Sykes explains that poxviruses, in addition to their importance for human health, provide an ideal framework for investigating protective antigens—parts of the virus that can be used to develop a vaccine—by means of modern, high-throughput genomic and proteomic screening technologies.

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