While many people in industrialized countries no longer regard measles as a public health threat, the disease still kills more than 1 million people worldwide every year. Many victims are children in developing countries who don't get vaccinated. Some of the others are people who received a vaccine that was ineffective because it hadn't been kept refrigerated or because they were less than 9 months old when they received the shot.
Scientists working with rhesus monkeys have now developed an alternative vaccine consisting of copies of just a couple of strands of DNA. It stands up to tropical heat without refrigeration and may confer lasting protection to infants only a few months old, says study coauthor Diane E. Griffin, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore.