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Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology: February 2002

Killed Spores Increase Effectiveness of Anthrax Vaccine

The inclusion of killed anthrax spores can greatly increase the effectiveness of any future vaccine against the disease say researchers from the Institute Pasteur in the February 2002 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.

Currently, anthrax vaccine technologies licensed for human use are based on a protein, called protective antigen (PA), that is secreted by the anthrax bacteria. This protein is a required component of anthrax toxins and vaccines based on PA teach the body to recognize and neutralize the anthrax toxins, preventing the toxic effects of infection, but not preventing the infection itself.

According to the researchers, the inclusion of formaldelhyde-inactivated anthrax spores (FIS) to a vaccine preparation elicited total protection against anthrax infection in both mice and guinea pigs, two animals commonly used to test anthrax vaccines. Such a strategy is currently used in veterinary vaccines for the immunization of animals, but not in humans.

We present evidence that inclusion of killed spores greatly enhances the protective efficacy of a PA-based vaccine. Immunization with FIS plus PA provides a synergistic protective immunity acting on both toxemia and infection, say the researchers. The results presented here may serve as the basis for the first design, for human use, of a subunit vaccine as protective as the current live veterinary vaccine.

(F. Brossier, M. Levy and M. Mock. 2002. Anthrax spores make an essential contribution to vaccine efficacy. Infection and Immunity, 70: 661-664.)

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Sourdough Bacteria Make Bread Safe for Cereal Intolerant

The bacteria responsible for sourdough bread may one day help create bread products that are safe for people with certain wheat allergies. Researchers from Italy report their findings in the February 2002 issue of the journal Applied and Enviro
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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
21-Feb-2002


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