Dual action anthrax vaccine more effective than current vaccine in early tests

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Could also act as therapy to help those infected keep bacteria in check over time

A new vaccine prods the immune system to attack both the anthrax bacterium ( Bacillus anthracis ) and the toxins it makes. This dual action represents an improvement over the currently available vaccine, which targets only the toxins. In a test of the vaccine using mice, animals were injected first with the vaccine, then 10 days later with anthrax toxin. All the vaccinated mice survived the toxic challenge, while unvaccinated mice exposed to the toxin died within 24 hours. “It worked like a charm,” said Julia Wang, Harvard Medical School assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who led the study. “Clearly, there is a need for a better anthrax vaccine,” she added. The researchers suggest that the new vaccine will also be an important tool for treating those already infected with anthrax as a so-called therapeutic vaccine.