Generating an effective vaccine against genital herpes infections has been a major research challenge for decades. Likewise, a protective microbicide has been a dream as well. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, and at Kiel University, Germany, have recently developed a unique method to combine microbicide efficacy with a new vaccine platform to give rise to the “Microbivac” concept. “Using specially designed nanoparticles by the Functional Nanomaterials group at Kiel University, our study develops this exciting concept and demonstrates the proof-of-principle that the Microbivac concept actually works. This could lead the way towards developing an effective microbicide as well as an effective intravaginal vaccine to curb genital herpes, a growing health problem and a prime cofactor in the spread of HIV/AIDS”, says Professor Deepak Shukla from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The co-first authors of the study, Drs. Thessicar Antoine and Satvik Hadigal (UIC), reemphasize that a non-traditional vaccine design, such as the one developed by the team, is the only solution to this growing health problem. The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Immunology.
Both pictures show zinc oxide tetrapods; right: virus is bound to tetrapod
Image Credit: Deepak Shukla