Combined rabies & MERS vaccine safeguards mice against both

A study, published in the Journal of Virology, shows that Baltimore-based University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers modified a rabies virus to include a protein from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, which can protect mice against both viruses.

Researchers used genetic engineering to produce the modified vaccine that "expresses a protein from the surface of the MERS virus, known as a spike protein, on the surface of the rabies virus." In mouse models, the vaccine protected the mice against both MERS and rabies. The researchers are also planning on testing the vaccine in camels, a reservoir of MERS virus.

The development of the MERS-rabies vaccine could quicken the discovery of a MERS vaccine for human beings.

"This is the first time anyone has used this strategy to create a MERS vaccine," said Matthew B. Frieman, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the medical school and lead researcher on the study. "This could give us a powerful mechanism to fight the virus."

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