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GEN News Highlights : Mar 7, 2007

Cobra Joins Spore-Based Vaccine Consortium

Initial focus on malaria and TB.

Cobra Biomanufacturing became part of a consortium formed to develop a new vaccine delivery system based on live bacterial spores. The initial disease targets will be malaria and tuberculosis, but the spore-based approach represents a platform technology to deliver vaccines against a wide range of diseases.

Spores of the harmless gut bacterium Bacillus subtilis are already taken orally as a probiotic to aid digestive health. The research program will involve genetically engineered spores to express vaccine determinants on their coat. Such spores are able to survive ingestion and can therefore deliver the vaccine to the immune system of the gut and induce immunity.

Spores are stable and do not require cold storage, and the oral delivery will avoid the problems associated with needles, making this technology particularly valuable in developing countries.