Bacterial 'superglue' being used to help discover new vaccines faster

Efforts to develop new vaccines have huge — and costly — rates of failure. A lab at OxfordUniversity in the U.K. has engineered and combined two proteins from Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria into an unbreakable "superglue" that could speed up the process of developing new vaccines, according to a paper in Scientific Reports.  

"A more reliable way of assembling candidate vaccines could make them much cheaper and improve the chances of vaccines against these illnesses. A faster way of assembling vaccines may also help with the rapid development of new vaccines against unforeseen disease outbreaks," Darren Leneghan, PhD, a researcher involved with the project, said in a statement.

The team successfully encoded the sticky proteins on virus-like particles — commonly used as a basis for vaccines — from a range of antigens related to malaria and cancer, suggesting that quick linking could be performed to produce stable vaccines.

"This simple, efficient and modular decoration of nanoparticles should accelerate vaccine development, as well as other applications of nanoparticle devices," the authors concluded.

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