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Foot & Mouth

Credit: Diamond Light Source

New methodology to produce a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease virus

Overview

Scientists have developed a new methodology to produce a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). Because the vaccine is all synthetic, made up of tiny protein shells designed to trigger optimum immune response, it doesn’t rely on growing live infectious virus and is therefore much safer to produce.  

Furthermore, these empty shells have been engineered to be more stable; making the vaccine much easier to store and reducing the need for a cold chain. This is important research because it represents a big step forward in the global campaign to control FMDV in countries where the disease is endemic, and could significantly reduce the threat to countries currently free of the disease. Crucially, this new approach to making and stabilising vaccine could also impact on how viruses from the same family are fought, including polio.

Impact

This research represents a big step forward in the global campaign to control FMDV in countries where the disease is endemic, and could significantly reduce the threat to countries currently free of the disease. Crucially, this new approach to making and stabilising vaccine could also impact on how viruses from the same family are fought, including polio.

Professor David Stuart, explains, “What we have achieved here is close to the holy grail of foot-and-mouth vaccines. Unlike the traditional vaccines, there is no chance that the empty shell vaccine could revert to an infectious form. This work will have a broad and enduring impact on vaccine development, and the technology should be transferable to other viruses from the same family, such as poliovirus and hand foot and mouth disease, a human virus which is currently endemic in South-East Asia.”

Key Individuals

  • Professor David Stuart, Life Science Director at Diamond Light Source
  • MRC Professor of Structural Biology at the Department of Medicine University of Oxford
  • Dr Bryan Charleston, Head of Livestock Viral Diseases Programme at The Pirbright Institute.

Facility Contact

Diamond Light Source
Tel.: + 44 (0) 1235 778431 
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