Can we create intelligent vaccines that evolve alongside the bugs that cause diseases?

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mario

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mario asked the Naked Scientists:

Is it possible to create an intelligent vaccine or drug that can evolve with ever changing strains of disease?

Is it possible to screen someone's genome to identify mutations that could to predict how someone may react to a drug or indicate if they have immunity against certain diseases?

Current drugs/treatments are aimed at killing or eliminating threats, or familiarising our immune systems so they are prepared to defend against pathogens.

This strategy is clearly becoming ineffective in light of new more virulent strains of disease (eg MRSA, XDR-TB). We always seem to be one step behind.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 16/07/2008 17:27:35 by chris »

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Offline LeeE

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Personally, I think what you suggest may well be possible, if a long way off.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline chris

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I'm not so sure; bacteriophage therapy (viruses that selectively kill bacteria) is making a comeback:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/virusesvssuperbugs/

As phages are controlled by the same nucleic acid chemistry from which the genomes of these pathogens are constructed, then the phages will evolve with the infection.

Chris
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Offline thedoc

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