Doctors Health Press, a division of Lombardi Publishing Corporation and publisher of various natural health newsletters, books, and reports, including the popular online Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, is reporting on a new study finding how a virus reacts in the presence of a vaccine using genome sequencing.
As Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin (http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health-2/health-news/how-this-discovery-can-boost-vaccine-effectiveness) notes, a person’s genome is all of their hereditary information encoded in their DNA. In 2003, scientists in the U.S. completed the Human Genome Project. This was an incredible feat given that the DNA of the 24 different human chromosomes contains about three billion chemical building-blocks. The researchers undertook this massive investigation in order to reveal the 25,000 odd human genes within our DNA.
As the article “How This Discovery Can Boost Vaccine Effectiveness” reports, the DNA sequence maps are now being used to study human health and biology to better develop preventions and treatments for disease, as well as more effective vaccines. And this was the focus in a recent clinical trial that used genome sequencing technology to see what changes a population of pneumococcal bacteria went through after being exposed to a vaccine.
The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article states that pneumococcal bacteria typically cause respiratory problems including coughing, sneezing, and congestion. When this bacterium colonizes in the lungs, it can cause pneumonia. It can also spread to the blood where it can trigger septic shock and life-threatening low blood pressure.
The article reports that when scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K. used genome sequencing to study a sample of pneumococci, they determined that some of the bacteria were wiped out when exposed to a certain vaccine. In this void grew pre-existing bacteria with a slight genetic variation, and this variation was likely responsible for a drop in the pneumococcal disease, according to the researchers.
Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin concludes by stating that the scientists hope to be able to follow the changes a bacterium goes through in order to flag the sudden emergence of a disease-causing strain. It’s this ability of being able to quickly and precisely investigate a disease outbreak that has got the medical community excited. However, there’s one snag: some infections are caused by two different strains of the same bacteria. If only one strain is sequenced, then the ability of genome sequencing to help is limited. Scientists are working on this problem right now.
(SOURCES: Croucher, N.J., “Population genomics of post-vaccine changes in pneumococcal epidemiology,” Nat Genet. May 5, 2013; Eyre, D.W., et al., “Detection of Mixed Infection from Bacterial Whole Genome Sequence Data Allows Assessment of Its Role in Clostridium difficile Transmission,” PLoS Comput Biol. May 2013; 9(5): e1003059; Schubert-Unkmeir, A., et al., “Genome-Based Bacterial Vaccines: Current State and Future Outlook,” BioDrugs. April 16, 2013.)
- Courtesy of PRWeb