Researchers develop a faster, stronger rabies vaccine

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Every year, more than 59,000 people around the world die of rabies and there remains no cheap and easy vaccine regimen to prevent the disease in humans. Now, researchers report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that adding a specific immune molecule to a rabies vaccine can boost its efficacy.

Previous studies have suggested that the existing —which is costly and complicated to administer—works by activating the 's B cells. However it can take time for the vaccine, which contains inactivated , to interact with the B cells.

In the new work, James McGettigan of Thomas Jefferson University, and colleagues turned to a signaling protein known as B cell activating factor (BAFF), which binds directly to B cells. They designed a rabies vaccine which included an attenuated rabies virus and BAFF on the same particle, hoping to target the vaccine directly to B cells for activation. Then they tested the new vaccine in mice.

Mice immunized with the new BAFF-enhanced rabies vaccine showed a faster and stronger response of the immune system compared to animals that received the typical vaccine. Levels of virus neutralizing antibodies increased more quickly and to higher levels, however the duration of the response was not affected. Additional studies on the safety of the vaccine are needed before testing it in humans.

"This new vaccine strategy significantly enhanced the speed and magnitude of the anti-rabies antibody responses and has the potential to improve the efficacy of currently used inactivated RABV-based vaccines," the researchers say.

More information: Plummer JR, McGettigan JP (2019) Incorporating B cell activating factor (BAFF) into the membrane of rabies virus (RABV) particles improves the speed and magnitude of vaccine-induced antibody responses. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 13(11): e0007800.

Journal information: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Citation: Researchers develop a faster, stronger rabies vaccine (2019, November 14) retrieved 22 July 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Developing a vaccine against Nipah virus


Feedback to editors