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SARS vaccine triggers immunity in monkeys

An experimental vaccine against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus has elicited a strong immune response against the virus in a test on monkeys, the vaccine's developers report.

Immunologist Andrea Gambotto and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine devised a vaccine using three common-cold adenoviruses, each genetically modified to produce a protein from the coronavirus that causes SARS. When injected into six rhesus macaque monkeys via two shots 28 days apart, the vaccine induced production of antibodies and T cells against SARS, the researchers report in the Dec. 6, 2003 Lancet. The response was best after the booster shot, but signs of immunity were already present 2 weeks after the first injection, Gambotto says.

What's more, when the scientists took blood from each monkey and exposed the sample to live SARS virus in a lab dish, the antibodies and T cells neutralized the virus.

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