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Synthetic vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease shows improved stability

C. Porta, A. Kotecha, A. Burman, T. Jackson, J. Ren, S. Loureiro and others

FOOT-and-mouth disease (FMD), a picornavirus, remains a major disease of livestock and outbreaks can be economically catastrophic. Current inactivated virus vaccines require expensive high containment facilities for their production and have to be kept in cold storage to maintain their activity.

Safe and effective picornavirus vaccines could, in principle, be produced from recombinant virus-like particles, which lack the viral genome and, therefore, cannot spread. However, synthesis of stable forms of these particles at scale has proved difficult. One of the reasons for this is that empty recombinant particles tend to be physically unstable in comparison to virus particles containing genetic material. This is particularly true for FMD virus (FMDV). This study reports the synthesis and evaluation of a novel vaccine against FMDV that addresses this and other problems.

Using computer simulations, the authors created a model of the protein shell of the virus that causes the disease, then reconstructed it from synthetic protein components, engineering additional disulfide bonds …

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