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After Monkeys, Ferrets to Receive SARS Vaccine
By Kate Ruder

Scientists plan to test the vaccine in ferrets next month.

Scientists have moved a step closer to creating a vaccine against the SARS virus in humans by engineering and testing a vaccine that is effective in monkeys.

In a new study, the researchers vaccinated six rhesus macaques and all the monkeys showed an immune response to the virus. Unfortunately, rhesus macaques do not actually develop symptoms of SARS, which the researchers did not know when they began the study last May.

They now plan to test the vaccine in ferrets, which seem to develop a human-like version of SARS. In October, researchers in the Netherlands showed that the ferret would be a good animal model for SARS.

If the vaccine proves effective in ferrets, the researchers would then test it in humans and eventually seek approval for the vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration.

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Andrea Gambotto of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine led the research, which appears in The Lancet.

Gambotto and his colleagues made the vaccine by disabling a common cold virus and engineering it to express SARS virus toxins, a so-called adenoviral-based vaccine. None of these types of vaccines are currently on the market, although they are being developed for HIV and Ebola.

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Gao, W. et al. Effects of SARS-associated coronavirus vaccine in monkeys. The Lancet 362, 1895-1896 (December 6, 2003).


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