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Anthrax Vaccine Shows Promise in Monkey Trial

FRIDAY, July 1, 2016 -- A vaccine made with a component of the bacteria that causes anthrax protected monkeys from the deadly infection in a preliminary trial.

Previous research showed that this component -- the anthrax capsule -- played a pivotal role in providing protection, the researchers said.

In this study, the same team of scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) tested a higher dose of the anthrax capsule vaccine in monkeys exposed to lethal inhaled levels of anthrax spores.

All the monkeys that received the vaccine survived, while the non-vaccinated monkeys died from anthrax, according to the study published online June 27 in the journal Vaccine.

The results suggest that anthrax capsule is a highly effective vaccine ingredient and should be considered for use in future anthrax vaccines, the researchers said. Current anthrax vaccines are based on a different component of anthrax toxins.

"In the 140-year history of research on anthrax there have been two previous types of vaccine, the last one licensed in 1970," study senior author Dr. Arthur Friedlander said in a USAMRIID news release.

"This new capsule vaccine is expected to work against possible vaccine-resistant strains of anthrax and to protect individuals who may not respond optimally to protective antigen [a foreign substance that triggers an immune response] alone. In addition, it could be combined with protective antigen to create a multi-component vaccine that may enhance the efficacy of protective antigen-based vaccines," he said.

However, it's important to note that most animal research doesn't produce similar results in human.

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Posted: July 2016


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