With the advent of vaccines, the incidence of several infectious diseases has been either significantly reduced or eliminated. Vaccination is also an effective strategy to mitigate the number of people who acquire an infection, thus preventing the need for antibiotics and helping to curb antibiotic resistance. However, as pathogens evolve, and new infectious agents arise, so does the need to continuously develop more vaccines. Creating a vaccine for each pathogenic agent is not only expensive, but it is a time consuming and complex endeavor.
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute have developed a novel signature for universally diagnosing infections of viral, bacterial, fungal and protozoan origin. Further, they have identified over 45 peptide epitope motifs that are part of the signature and can be used to develop a universal vaccine for infectious diseases. Sera from over 405 infected and non-infected patients were used to identify the signature indicating that almost all of the pathogens evaluated induce a common and limited immune response on infection. This limited immune response allows the host to constrain initial infections until a more robust adaptive immune response can be mounted. Peptides comprising the identified epitopes could be used in a vaccine to provide broad protective immunity against most types of infections.
These peptides not only form a signature for broadly diagnosing an infection, but could also serve in the development of a universal vaccine that could protect against or reduce the severity of many infections.
• Signature for diagnosing an infection
• Universal vaccine for most types of infections
Benefits and Advantages
• Robust signature for diagnostics distinguishing between infected and non-infected individuals
o Patients with 4 different cancer types were compared to patients without cancer and no common signature was found, indicating that there are not common antibodies elicited to any disease
• The vaccine could be broadly applicable against a wide range of infectious diseases of viral, bacterial or protozoan origin
• Could confer broad protective immunity, or reduce the severity of an infection
• High sensitivity
For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. Johnston’s departmental webpage