A new study shows a vaccine made from the common cold virus may induce the immune system to help fight the SARS virus.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention injected six monkeys with a genetically altered cold virus that is similar to parts of the SARS coronavirus. A new form of the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV, was discovered earlier this year. The monkeys were given a second vaccine 28 days later, and researchers used two monkeys to serve as control subjects.
Results of the study show six weeks after being vaccinated, T-cells and antibodies against the SARS virus were detected in all of the immunized animals but not in the control animals. Researchers say the intensity of response varied but was generally the greatest after the second vaccination. The vaccinated animals had serum samples that showed a strong immune response against SARS-CoV.
Researchers say, "The induced immune reaction appears to be broad. Both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses, equally important for protection from viral infections, were detected in the test animals ... and they say they hope that this research will lead to a protective vaccine against SARS."
Researchers say further studies will test the vaccine in ferrets, which have been known to develop SARS symptoms after SARS-coronavirus infection, unlike the monkeys in the current study.
Specialists say they are soon planning human clinical trials in the near future.