Published on December 21, 2012 at 5:48 AM
The protein vaccine can be obtained at a low cost thanks to the use of insect larvae. To create the vaccine scientists isolated protozoan genes, inserted them into a virus which affects insects (baculovirus) and used these to infect larvae of a small worm, the cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni). The larvae act as bioreactors and produce in large amounts - and at a much lower cost than conventional reactors based on microorganisms - the proteins which code these genes, and which are responsible for a protective response in vaccinated individuals. Using this method, a DNA vaccine can be manufactured with the protozoan protein coding genes, and a second vaccine with proteins associated with these genes (produced at a low cost using insect larvae), with the aim of increasing its effectiveness. This vaccine strategy can be used both in a preventive and a therapeutic manner, in both humans and dogs. Presently, the possibility of a translational phase is being contemplated with the aim of transferring as quickly as possible the results of this basic research to clinical practices, and of increasing the efficacy even more by using drugs to boost the immune response.
Source: PLoS ONE