A new vaccine that may one day provide protection from multiple strains of bacteria has been developed by researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara.
While the conventional vaccines protect against a limited number of closely related strains, the researchers hope that the new vaccine will help treat a broad spectrum of maladies.
"Vaccines are great," said Michael Mahan, of University of California, Santa Barbara.
"Second to water sanitation, they are the best medical invention of mankind," he added.
The research team including scientists from University of Utah focused on developing a vaccine against Salmonella, which causes food and blood poisoning
"It's endemic worldwide," Mahan said. "It's not a carnivore issue - it's everybody's issue since fruits and vegetables are often the source of infection."
By turning off a "genetic switch", the research team has developed a vaccine that protects against many strains of Salmonella.
The new vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies and immune cells that work together to kill bacteria.
Also, the vaccine does not induce a specific class of inhibitory immune cells that are known to contribute to immune declines in cancer patients.
This lack of "immune suppression" is an advantage of the new vaccine over conventional vaccines.
The new vaccine is currently being tested in livestock - the main source of human infection.
"The immunization of livestock can help human health by promoting food safety," said Douglas Heithoff, also from UCSB. (ANI)
The paper is published in the November edition of the journal Infection and Immunity.