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DNA vaccine immunizes fetal lambs

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5:43pm, April 21, 2003

Although a woman's placenta shields her fetus from most infections she carries during pregnancy, microbes sometimes pounce on a baby during or shortly after birth. In this way, many mothers inadvertently transmit diseases such as herpes simplex to their child.

In the August Nature Medicine, scientists report successfully vaccinating fetal lambs against bovine herpes, to which sheep are susceptible. The study bolsters a nascent technology that aims to protect human infants still in the womb from diseases of their mothers.

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