Vaccines Current Affairs

Scientists discovers protein PorB that increases effectiveness of vaccines against cancer

Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine, US have discovered a protein called PorB that could help make vaccinations more effective and provide protection from diseases such as cancer.

In this study, researchers had purified this protein, found on the exterior of bacteria (neisseria meningidis). It helps to increase amount of antibody production and can stimulate cells to kill offending agent and used it as an accessory to provide a better vaccination response.

Proteins are unusually any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds which have large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids. They are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.

Significance of discovery
  • Typically, vaccines can either increase the amount of antibody production or they can stimulate cells (called cytotoxic T cells) to directly kill the offending agent. But the unique protein PorB can do both.
  • In this study, researchers had used two experimental models. The first model was given a vaccination with antigen and mixed PorB, while the second model was given the antigen alone.
  • The model that received the PorB had an increase in the response to the vaccine antigen as compared to the vaccination with the antigen alone.
  • Potential applications: The discovery may lead to greater understanding of how vaccine enhancers work. It can also be used to help body identify and fight off bacterial infections and also potentially to use its own machinery to fight off other diseases like cancer, HIV, and influenza before they establish.

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CEPI formally launched at WEF, Davos

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was officially launched at World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos after it received $460-million to develop vaccines against 3 emerging highly-contagious and fatal diseases.

These three diseases are Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-coronavirus, Lassa fever, and Nipah virus.  CEPI will use this fund to contain outbreaks these 3 diseases before they become global health emergencies.

Key Facts
  • Under it, CEPI will solicit proposals from academic researchers and industry to develop candidate vaccines for its three target viruses.
  • In 5 years, it aims develop at least two vaccines for each virus through early human studies so that they are ready for a real-world test as soon as one of these viruses surfaces again.
  • CEPI also intends to fund vaccine platforms—technologies like harmless viral vectors or messenger RNA that can serve as backbones for a variety of vaccines.
  • It has has received $100 million commitments from Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway have pledged to contribute additional $260 million.

About Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)

  • CEPI is a public-private alliance to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics.
  • It plans to develop early phases of vaccines without knowing the details for the form in which the deadly infection will appear but to cut down the time to tailor the eventual vaccine to be effective to epidemic.
  • CEPI’s plan includes preparations for possible outbreaks of Marburg fever, Lassa fever, MERS, SARS, Nipah virus, Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, and others.
  • It is being funded by the Wellcome Trust, t Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Economic Forum (WEF), Governments of Norway, Japan, India (Department of Biotechnology) and Germany.

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