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Safer vaccine created without virus

March 28, 2013
"Unlike traditional vaccines, there is no chance that the empty-shell vaccine could revert to an infectious form."
- Dave Stuart, Life Sciences Director at Diamond, and MRC Professor of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford

British scientists have developed a “holy grail” vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease that is safer and more resilient than current vaccines, according to an article published in the journal PLOS Pathogens on Wednesday.

At the moment, animals are given a small dose of live infectious virus to stimulate the body’s immune system into producing antibodies that recognise and destroy the pathogen whenever it appears in the bloodstream.

Now scientists believe they can produce an entirely synthetic vaccine thanks to atomic analysis of the virus using Britain’s particle accelerator, the Diamond Light Source, near Oxford in southern England.

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