New vaccine using bacteria membrane

The bacteria family of the Pastorellaceae are responsible for several infectious diseases. A team of molecular life scientists from Graz is now trying to find new vaccine “candidates”, which will protect us against these infections.

Bacteria emit several kinds of protein and macromolecular particles of their membrane. These round particles are called “membrane vesicles” or “outer membrane vesicles” (OMVs).

“OMVs have antigens of the natural arrangement and are thus potential vaccine candidates”, said Stefan Schild, one of the researchers from Graz.

The Institute for Molecular Life Sciences researches the ability of triggering a reaction of the immune system in the bodies of animals and humans.

An important cause of pneumonia is the bacterium “nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae” (NTHi) from the family of the Pastorellaceae. It is also responsible for several infectious diseases such as sinusitis and inflammation of the middle ear.

As the vaccine for this group has not yet existed, the research group wants to change this.

“We examined the immunogenic characteristics of the OMVs from different NTHi strains. The mouse model showed that this provides protection against not only the NTHi strain, which served as the donator for the OMV immunization, but also against a heterologous NTHi strain”, Mr Schild stated.

The researchers have shown in their most recent survey that vaccines, which are based on membrane vesicles, offer protection. They registered a patent on the technology. Mr Schild has already developed a vaccine candidate against cholera.