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Genomics, Vaccines & Weaponization - Essay Example

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Name Professor Subject Code 15 March 2012 Genomics, Vaccines & Weaponization The genomic-enabled reverse vaccinology is an approach that is utilized in vaccine development and was first utilized with the serogroup type B Neisseria meningitides. The first is the sequencing of the entire genome of the pathogenic organism of interest…
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Download file to see previous pages The second step is to produce the recombinant proteins in E.coli bacteria, and this may range to about 350 proteins. These proteins are then purified and used in mice. The immune sera so obtained would be collected and would be assayed to determine their binding capacity with the proteins on the N. meningitides B bacteria to observe any kind of bactericidal activity in vitro. A few numbers of proteins can be taken that have a high titer in all the assays. Here the protein sequence variability was being studied in the isolates of N. mengitidis B bacteria and from these the final candidates would be 2 vaccines that met all the criteria should be selected and had no sequence variability. This can undergo phase 1 clinical trial (Fraser 23-33). Robert Stevens was dying from inhalation anthrax and was dying from the disease, in September 2001 following the 911 attacks. He had received a letter containing some strange powder and following coming in contact with this powder became ill. His body was taken to Northern Arizona University wherein biologist Paul Keim had invented a molecular biology technology of distinguishing one strain of anthrax from another. Keim had collected about 88 strains of anthrax and tried to compare them with each of these. He compared the DNA (genome) of the bacteria and located for various genetic markers specifically 8 in number, and found that it had matched one that was used by the US Army for its vaccine studies as it was a highly virulent bacterium and could be used in bioterrorism. This strain was known as the Ames Strain and was first isolated from a cow in Texas in 1981 and was sent to the USSAMRIID for research (US Department of Justice ). The bacteria had passed several hands of various laboratories. They later studied the difference between the Ames anthrax bacteria and the bacteria that killed Stevens. They compared 5 million chemical letters present in 5000 genes. After doing all these studies, they found that the genome of the bacteria that was present in Stevens’s body was the same as the Ames strain, and they could not identify specifically from which lab was the sample smuggled out and used by the terrorists. Mutations that the bacteria would undergo after being passed from one lab to another was being studied, but the scientist did not find any differences. Finally they found that the genome of morph D of the bacteria did contain a large portion that was missing and this was caused by an altered chemical letter in the DNA. They zeroed down to 8 out of the 1000 samples collected and this was traced to an army laboratory USAMRIID and the researcher involved was Bruce Ivins who had committed suicide after he was declared the prime suspect (PBS). Biological warfare is the use of biological agents or their toxins in order to destroy human, animal and plant life and would be an act of terrorism or war. These biological organisms are capable of reproducing on the hosts or are able to release toxic substances on the host, cause disease and finally kill or cause critical illnesses in the host. Some of the biological weapons may actually be lethal, whereas other may be non-lethal but may have a disastrous effect. Further, by using infectious agents, the effect is even more disastrous and disease rapidly spreads from one individual to another, and drugs and vaccines that are required may not be immediately available. Most of such biological warfare agents are transmitted on contact or through ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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