A new technology platform that uses hydrogen peroxide to inactivate virus strains used for vaccine production is reported in Nature Medicine this week.
Live-attenuated vaccines created from live but weakened viruses are widely used and easy to produce. One of the main problems with this type of vaccines is that current inactivating agents decrease the neutralizing antibody response in the body owing to destruction of key viral proteins that would normally trigger an immune response.
Mark Slifka and colleagues show that hydrogen peroxide treatment circumvents this problem. This approach resulted in protective antibody-mediated immunity in mice vaccinated against two lethal viruses and protective cellular-mediated immunity in mice vaccinated against chronic viral infection.
Whether the cellular immunity induced can be shown in humans, and whether it is equivalent to that from live recombinant vaccines remain to be shown.