UB Vaccine Prevents Ear Infections in Children and Lung Infections in Adults
A little-known bacteria is at the root of a good portion of the 26 million ear infections suffered by American children every year. Moraxella catarrhalis also causes many of the lung infections that strike the estimated 24 million older Americans who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Medical researchers at the University at Buffalo have patented a vaccine against the bug.
The Buffalo team is also using a new approach to test interactions with antibodies, incorporating high-tech genetic techniques to identify a large number of possible recognition sites for potential vaccines.
First, they mined the M. catarrhalis genome and found 348 of the bacterium's 2000 genes that had surface protein characteristics. Next, they compared how many of those appear in a wide range of M. catarrhalis strains and narrowed the set down to 178 genes. Finally, they cloned the genes and studied the proteins directly.
An additional patent is pending on the vaccine development method.