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Discovery & Development Drug Discovery, Vaccines

Preventing the Viral Trigger Pull

Type 1 diabetes is caused when the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. But what triggers this autoimmune response in the first place? Although it’s likely that both genetic and environmental factors are involved, infection by Coxsackievirus B (CVB) enteroviruses is believed to be an important trigger.

Now, researchers have collaborated on a vaccine to protect against the six known strains of CVB (1). They tested the vaccine in both mouse and rhesus monkey models with excellent safety results and evidence of a strong antibody response against CVB. What’s more, the vaccine prevented CVB-induced diabetes in mice with a genetic predisposition to the disease.

The next step is to initiate a human clinical trial and – if the vaccine proves safe – administer the vaccine to children with a genetic predisposition to type 1 diabetes to see whether it lowers the number who go on to develop the disease.

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  1.  VM Stone et al., “A hexavalent Coxsackievirus B vaccine is highly immunogenic and has a strong protective capacity in mice and nonhuman primates,” Sci Adv, 6, eaaz2433 (2020).
About the Author
Michael Schubert

Editor, The Pathologist

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