Printer Friendly

Hepatitis B vaccine: onward and upward.

There already is a blood-derived vaccine against hepatitis B, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. An experimental, yeast-engineered recombinant DNA vaccine has recently proven successful in adults and infants (SN: 7/27/85, p. 55), and now researchers are reporting good results with a recombinant vaccine manufactured by a mammalian cell line. An estimated 800,000 or more people in the United States and 200 million people worldwide are carriers of the hepatitis B virus, which can cause chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

The currently marketed vaccine is produced from the blood of infected people. While the safety of the product has been proven, the source -- hepatitis B carriers -- could eventually disappear. "If vaccine prevention works," says MArtin rosenberg of Smith Kline & French Laboratories in Philadelphia, who chaired a session on recombinant vaccines at the meeting, "there will be no future source of the vaccine."

John M. Zahradnik and his colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., vaccinated 200 healthy men with a mammalian recombinant vaccine and 20 men with the currently marketed vaccine. within four weeks, 70 percent of recombinant vaccinations "took," compared with only 25 percent in the other group; eventually 95 percent of the men in both groups were protected.

"Our vaccine seems to be more immunogenic [than the current vaccine] and that may be important in the long run," says Zahradnik. Another advantage: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects that the price of the recombinant vaccine will be less than that of the one now in use.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 12, 1985
Previous Article:Herpes babies.
Next Article:New estimates of radiation lethality ....

Related Articles
Yeast-made vaccine nearing market.
Biotech vaccine okayed.
Oral vaccine sought for hepatitis B.
Granted partial immunity from hepatitis?
Hepatitis falls to vaccine, malaria doesn't.
Shots in the dark: who should decide which vaccinations children receive?
Hepatitis B vaccine linked to MS.
Hepatitis B in women: domestically and internationally.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters