For the first time, a team of researchers at the University of South Australia has successfully isolated and frozen cells to reveal vital clues in the fight against the fatal TB bug.
The discovery was made possible through a unique combination of advanced cryo-electron microscopy and stereology techniques. It resulted in a detailed 3D model of the structure of the vaccine that provides a major breakthrough in the battle against TB.
The discovery offers hope for the development of a safe, effective, and inexpensive TB vaccine, one that could help save millions of lives each year.
TB, or tuberculosis, is an infectious disease typically spread through inhalation of contaminated air particles. It kills more people each year than any other single infectious agent, according to the World Health Organization.
The new discovery provides insight into how TB functions and how it might be prevented. This opens the door to the development of new vaccines to tackle TB and other diseases caused by infectious agents.
The researchers studied how different types of molecules cross the cell membrane of the bacterium responsible for TB, identified as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They were able to freeze and then view the structures of the molecules in 3D, allowing them to develop a detailed understanding of how they function.
By revealing this molecular structure, the research team has provided a critical piece of the puzzle in the development of a new TB vaccine. This study is the first step in a long process to develop an effective, safe and low cost TB vaccine, and the research team is determined to make it a reality.
The findings of the research have been published in the journal EMBO Reports and have been presented at a number of international conferences. The team has already established international collaborations and will continue to build on the research in pursuit of their goal.
It is hoped that through their efforts and the dedication of others, a safe and effective vaccine that works to prevent TB may one day be available to everyone. [ad_1]
Tuberculosis kills 1.6 million a 12 months — the next deadliest infectious condition just after COVID-19. Applying immune cells and mRNA engineering, scientists in South Africa are doing the job on a new vaccine.
(Picture credit score: Tommy Trenchard for NPR)