OU researchers may have found a vaccine that better treats pneumonia
OU researchers have made breakthroughs in the study of a vaccine that may be able to treat a common illness that still kills Oklahomans each year.
In late July, the OU Health and Sciences Center announced researchers discovered an effective vaccine that may be able to treat multiple strains of pneumonia.
There are over 90 known variations of the bacteria, but available vaccines don’t necessarily prevent all strains, Dr. Rodney Tweten said.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumonia — as it is more commonly known — is caused by bacteria attacking the body and damaging the blood vessels, according to the press release.
“The most effective current vaccines only cover 13 to 26 types,” said Tweten, a George Lynn Cross Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine. “This would make a much less expensive, but much more effective vaccine in terms of broad coverage.”
Tweten’s vaccine differs from other vaccines on the market, because preexisting vaccines target carbohydrate capsules, so they cannot attach to cholesterol on cells to release their toxin, whereas Tweten’s vaccine targets proteins, he said.
“This vaccine candidate could not only change how pneumococcal diseases are prevented, but may also lay the foundation for new vaccine development strategies against many diseases involving this class of proteins,” said Dr. Jimmy Ballard, chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.