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Llama Antibodies May Help Prevent Dandruff

The addition of llama antibodies to shampoo could be a new strategy for fighting dandruff, say European researchers. Their findings appear in the January 2005 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Malassezia furfur, a fungus frequently found on the human scalp, is often associated with the formation of dandruff. Current methods of treatment consist of shampoos containing antifungal compounds.

In the study researchers immunized a llama with M. furfur three times over a period of five weeks. They then screened blood samples and found antibodies that targeted a specific protein on the surface of the organism even in the harsh chemical conditions of shampoo.

"Here we describe a novel approach for preventing the formation of dandruff by inhibition of M. furfur with antibodies," say the researchers.

(E. Dolk, M. van der Vaart, D.L. Hulsik, G. Vriend, H. de Haard, S. Spinelli, C. Cambillau, L. Frenken, T. Verrips. 2004. Isolation of llama antibody fragments for prevention of dandruff by phage display in shampoo. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71. 1: 442-450.)


New Coronavirus Identified in Pneumonia Patients

Researchers from Hong Kong have identified a novel coronavirus in patients suffering from pneumonia. Their findings appear in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Virology.

Coronaviruses are responsible for 5 to 30 percent of human respiratory tract infections largely due to their unique ability to replicate. Because so many cases of respiratory tract infections are reported each year, researchers are actively trying to identify new causative agents.

The new virus, labeled CoV-HKU1, was first identified in a 71-year old pneumonia patient that had just returned from China. Following the discovery, nasal samples were taken from patients suffering from respiratory illness, but negati
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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
14-Jan-2005


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