Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have developed a prototype vaccine that would block both rabies and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS. The vaccine contains an inactivated rabies virus genetically modified to express a MERS protein.
The double vaccine could prove useful not only in humans, but in camels, which are the reservoir of the disease. About 95 percent of camels in the Middle East are infected with MERS when they are young; because their immune system reacts differently from humans’, it gives them the sniffles rather than kills them. But if they were vaccinated against MERS – many of them already receive the rabies vaccine – they would not be able to spread the disease to humans. Dr. Frieman is now planning to begin testing the approach in camels.
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