Web Zap*Germs Archive

May 17, 2005

Vaccines for Age-Old Enemies: Plague, Fat and...Smoking?

News comes in threes, I've heard, and the last few days has brought word of vaccines under development to combat some stubborn foes. The first, a vaccine against plague (think Black Death). The second, a vaccine targeting a specific peptide that encourages eating that leads to obesity.

Finally, a slug for a big killer: smoking. A vaccine is being developed that aims a bacteriophage against nicotine. The premise is so odd I can hardly get my head around it, but Jason L. Miller seems to understand: "Using a protein from part of the virus, scientists altered it to provoke an antibody response," he says. "When given the vaccine, the antibodies produced by the patient latch on to nicotine, creating a combination that is too large to enter the brain from the blood. The result is the non-reward of nicotine craving satisfaction."

Amazing stuff.

[Link to Beltway Traffic Jam at Outside the Beltway.]


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