Researchers discover new more effective rabies vaccine

A team of researchers has found an immune molecule for the rabies vaccine faster, less complex and stronger than today.

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that is usually transmitted to humans by animals, usually by dogs. However, despite being a preventable disease through a vaccine, it affects more than 150 countries, being Asia and Africa where there is a greater number of deaths.

A disease, which ends up being almost fatal if not treated in time, which mostly affects the most vulnerable populations since they do not have direct access to post-exposure prophylaxis for immediate treatment. Therefore, about 59,000 people worldwide die each year as a result of this disease.

Molecular assistant in the virus
In this sense, a team of researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, led by James McGettingan, has found an immune molecule for the rabies vaccine capable of speeding up its effectiveness and making it stronger than the current one, as published in the specialized magazine PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

It is true that there is a vaccine for the cure of the disease, but it is not quick or economical. Through this study, the researchers “describe a novel mechanism to improve vaccination by incorporating a molecular helper anchored to the membrane on the surface of the rabies virus particle, which significantly increases the speed and magnitude of the antibody responses, ”says the article.

Avoid complex and expensive vaccines
The current vaccine works by activating B cells in our immune system, but researchers have discovered that through a signaling protein as a B cell activation factor (BAFF), it is directly anchored.

After testing the mice, they showed a faster and stronger response to the vaccine compared to the current vaccine. We still have to wait to know its effectiveness in human beings and, above all, safety. Therefore, new studies are going to be carried out since it can be a great finding to avoid complex and expensive vaccination programs.

“These obstacles contribute to reducing widespread use and, therefore, reducing the effectiveness of these vaccination regimes. Improving the efficacy of inactivated RABV-based vaccines could be key to preventing human deaths due to rabies, ”the researchers conclude.

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