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'Fast-acting cholera vaccine may curb outbreaks'

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Scientists have developed a vaccine which may provide rapid protection against the disease, and limit the spread of future outbreaks.

Experiments conducted in rabbits by researchers at (HHMI) in the US suggest that the tricked-out vaccine starts protecting against the deadly within a day.

The researchers discovered an ability unique to the vaccine, called HaitiV, which protects rabbits from cholera-causing bacteria almost immediately - even before an immune response begins.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests the vaccine will be particularly good at curbing fast-spreading cholera, which is responsible for between 21,000 and 143,000 deaths worldwide each year.

The researchers have not yet tested the vaccine in people, but Matthew Waldor, a at Brigham and in the US, believes the vaccine will hold great promise.

"We think this is going to be a very good vaccine, and could induce immunity after a single dose," said Waldor.

is an that can quickly kill without treatment. The is caused by Vibrio cholerae, bacteria that take up residence in the small intestines and produce toxins that can trigger and diarrhea, leading to

After tracing the genetic origins of the V cholerae strain responsible for the 2010 outbreak in Haiti, Waldor and his colleagues realised that the bacteria had changed in the decades since existing cholera were designed.

"The last were made a long time ago, and they don't incorporate a lot of our modern understanding of this pathogen," Waldor said.

He and his team decided to create a new version of the vaccine using a toothless V cholerae as a protective shield. These harmless, lab-designed bacteria do not cause cholera. Instead, they seem to prevent the dangerous pathogen from causing trouble.

The researchers began with the DNA sequence of the current version of the virulent V cholerae.

Using sophisticated genetic tricks, they tweaked the bacteria's genome, essentially engineering out anything that might make it dangerous.

If the bacteria were ever to acquire the DNA sequence for making toxins, for example, a CRISPR-based gene editing safeguard would chew up that DNA, researchers said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 13:00 IST