Scientists Make Breakthrough With New Vaccine That Will Eliminate Need For Booster Shots

In Education

Scientists forecast the predominant flu strains each year, guiding the formulation of influenza vaccines. Similarly, COVID-19 vaccines adapt to prevalent variants. Yet, a significant breakthrough hints at a future free from the strain-chasing cycle and perpetual boosters, promising relief from the yearly scramble to predict and combat evolving viruses.

New RNA-based vaccine safe for immunocompromised individuals and babies

The University of California-Riverside researchers have unveiled a novel RNA-based vaccine approach. It shows promise in combating various virus strains and is deemed safe for infants and immunocompromised individuals. The authors of the study propose a novel approach that could potentially obviate the requirement for annual booster shots.

Study author and UCR Virologists Rong Hai said that by targeting a segment of the viral genome shared among all strains, this strategy demonstrates broad efficacy against various viruses and their variants, offering a promising universal vaccine solution.

Conventionally, vaccines feature either a deactivated or altered live virus. The immune system identifies a viral protein, prompting a defensive reaction. This response generates T-cells combatting the virus, halting its proliferation. Additionally, “memory” B-cells are formed, instructing the immune system to defend against future invasions.

Novel vaccine uses modified live virus variant on RNA molecules

The novel vaccine employs a modified live virus variant. Unlike traditional vaccines, it doesn’t necessitate the body to initiate a conventional immune reaction or possess active immune proteins. Therefore, it’s suitable for infants with immature immune systems or individuals with conditions affecting immunity. Instead, it operates on small RNA molecules for efficacy.

Lead study Author and microbiology professor at UCR Shouwei Ding, emphasized the RNAi’s role in suppressing the virus. Ding explained that during viral infection, hosts, including humans and mice, generate small interfering RNAs, triggering an immune reaction.

Viruses propagate disease by hindering the host’s RNAi response with protein production. Prof. Ding suggests crafting a mutant virus lacking this suppressive protein to weaken it. This altered virus, unable to fully replicate against the host’s RNAi, can serve as a vaccine to enhance our RNAi immunity.

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