1 Tahrcountry Musings: Chimp Antibodies For Fight Against Smallpox

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chimp Antibodies For Fight Against Smallpox

Chimps are helping human beings in the development of new vaccines against small pox. The current vaccine against smallpox blocks infection by the smallpox virus variola by targeting it with another virus, vaccinia. vaccinia can produce severe side effects in a small minority of people and couls even be fatal. A team led by Dr Robert Purcell, at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been working on those taken from the bone marrow of chimpanzees because of their close similarity to human forms. Chimps produced particularly powerful antibodies in response. A hybrid human/chimp version that is powerful has been developed. These potent antibodies can also provide instant protection after exposure to the virus. This vaccine also carried a lower risk of complications.
Protecting wildlife has myriad spin-offs, which we are frittering away by failing to protect wildlife and its habitat. We are foreclosing the future benefits in our mad race for development.

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