Every year, more than 59,000 people worldwide die of rage and there is still no easy and cheap vaccine regime to prevent disease in humans. Now, researchers have discovered that add a specific immune molecule A rabies vaccine can increase its effectiveness, as published in the journal in 'PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases'.
Previous studies have suggested that the existing rabies vaccine, which is expensive and complicated to administer, works by activating B cells of the immune system. However, it contains inactivated virus particles, which may take time to interact with B cells. In the new work, James McGettigan of Thomas Jefferson University, and his colleagues turned to a signaling protein known as B cell activation factor (BAFF), which binds directly to B cells.
They designed a rabies vaccine that included an attenuated rabies virus and BAFF in the same particle, hoping to direct the vaccine directly to B cells for activation. Then they tested the new vaccine in mice. Mice immunized with the new rabies vaccine enhanced with BAFF showed a faster and stronger immune system response compared to animals that received the typical vaccine.
The levels of virus neutralizing antibodies increased faster and at higher levels, however, the duration of the response was not affected. However, they warn that additional studies are needed on the safety of the vaccine before testing it in humans. "This new vaccine strategy significantly improved the speed and magnitude of rabies antibody responses and has the potential to improve the efficacy of currently used inactivated RABV-based vaccines," the researchers say.