Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U of Maryland researcher gets $500K from NIH to develop new approach to enterovirus vaccination


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 24th, 2020

A researcher at the University of Maryland (UMD) has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a novel approach to vaccination that could provide protection against hundreds of viruses in a single shot.

The technology targets enteroviruses, a diverse group that has created a huge public health burden. However, out of these many viruses, only polio and enterovirus 71 have available vaccines against them. By targeting the replication protein of the viruses, rather than their structural proteins, UMD researcher George Belov aims to pave the way for a new, more comprehensive kind of vaccine.

“All viruses are pretty much like a nut. You have the shell or husk, and then the material inside the husk,” says Belov. “Inside, you have pretty much the same core of proteins the virus uses to replicate. The replication machinery of all of those viruses is very similar. So the central idea of this grant is to switch from making vaccines that target those individual outer shells to vaccines that target conserved replication proteins to potentially generate a vaccine product that could be protective against a much broader spectrum of enteroviruses.”

The roughly $500,000 NIH grant could help accelerate Belov’s technology from the lab to the marketplace, significantly reducing the burden of vaccination for a public that is increasingly concerned about the growing number of necessary vaccines.

“It’s always a risk-benefit question, because the more vaccines you add, the chances of getting complications from a vaccine product are higher,” Belov says. “The risk is very low as a whole, but there is no absolutely risk-free product, and there are always people that will respond differently. So if you can protect against multiple viruses in the same product, that is a very desirable thing.”

Source: Cision

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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