Indian scientists have produced a more effective vaccine for anthrax and they claim that it could be less mephitic and longer lasting than that which is presently available.It has been developed by a team, from the Centre for Biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, led by Dr Rakesh Bhatnagar.
It is made up of harmless mutant forms of three key proteins that together make the toxin that does the damage to humans infected with anthrax. The protective antigen, lethal factor and edema factor. Individually, the proteins are non-toxic, but in combination they can be deadly. The vital protein is protective antigen, which binds to host cells and enables the other two proteins to enter.
AdvertisementA harmless form of protective antigen is the main ingredient of the new vaccine. However, it also includes trace amounts of the harmless forms of lethal factor and edema factor, which boost the vaccine's effectiveness.
Dr Bhatnagar said that if further tests proved successful, the new vaccine could replace the form presently used, which although effective has many side effects. Dr Bhatnagar was motivated to find a vaccine for anthrax following a major epidemic among animals in West Bengal seven years ago.