US firm develops possible 'Mers' vaccine
Maryland (US), May 20, 2014
US biopharma company Novavax along with a team from University of Maryland have jointly developed a vaccine that appears to effectively fight the killer Mers-coronavirus in mice, said a report.
The researchers have found a novel method to rapidly develop vaccines against MERS-CoV, which emerge suddenly and cause severe illness in humans, said the study published in 'Vaccine'.
The experimental MERS jab was developed using Novavax's nanoparticle vaccine technology based on a surface spike protein, or 'S' protein, on the MERS virus that is responsible for binding the virus to target cells, it said.
In mice, the vaccine candidate induced neutralizing antibodies that effectively blocked the virus from infecting cells, it added.
As of now there is no real treatment or vaccine that can tackle the Mers virus that was first detected in 2012 and has already affected 339 people in Saudi Arabia. The killer disease claimed five more lives on Monday thus taking the death toll in the kindom to 173.
Since late April, the first two cases of MERS have been reported on US soil. Dutch officials reported their first two cases this week. Infections have also turned up in Britain, Greece, France, Italy, Malaysia and elsewhere.