A research team led by Dr. Julia Wang at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, have designed a new anti-anthrax vaccine by coupling the capsular poly-γ-D-glutamic acid (PGA) to the protective antigen. PGA is a major component of the bacterial capsule that is a formidable layer of protection against the ‘host’ immune system. The new vaccine is dually active, eliciting antibodies to both the bacteria (antibodies specific for PGA) and the toxin (antibodies specific for the protective antigen). The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Rhie, G.-E. et al., PNAS 100:10925-10930, Sep. 16, 2003).
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