10 Aug 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singgapore: Taiwanese researchers have claimed that they have developed a new vaccine against Enterovirus 71 (EV 71). Taiwan news reports quoted Prof Chiang Bor-luen of National Taiwan University Hospital's Department of Pediatrics and Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine as saying that the new vaccine, which has proven effective in primates, is expected offer humans better protection against EV 71.
EV 71 is a virulent strain of the virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease. The next step is to team up with experienced biotech companies to conduct more studies and clinical trials, Chiang said. The vaccine successfully induced antibodies against EV 71 in the Formosan macaque, a primate close to humans. It is expected to enter late stage clinical trials in another five years.
Hu Yu-chen, a professor at National Tsing Hua University's Department of Chemical Engineering, said the new vaccine is safer and has fewer side effects than most other vaccines. Instead of using inactivated viral cells, the new vaccine uses virus-like particles (VLPs) to stimulate immune responses.
The reearchers have produced proteins that can be assembled into VLPs through genetic engineering. VlPs resemble viruses but do not contain viral genetic material. The technology is already being used to make the human papilloma virus vaccine that can help prevent cervical cancer.