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New vaccination strategy against sexually transmitted infections
A British research team is currently developing a patch that is intended to encourage the immune system to form antibodies against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or herpes simplex viruses. The researchers succeeded in making the vaccines available through the skin, eliminating the need for a classic injection.
A research team from King’s College London has taken a big step forward in developing a vaccine against multiple STDs like HIV and herpes. The new findings could enable vaccinations against sexually transmitted infections. The research focuses on a new vaccination strategy in which the active ingredients enter the body through the skin. The study results were recently presented in the journal "Nature Communications".
Why vaccination against sexual infections is difficult
As the researchers report, vaccination against sexual diseases is a particular challenge. In contrast to many other diseases, sexual diseases cannot be waited for until the pathogen is in the blood. Instead, special immune cells, so-called CD8-T cells, have to be available at the point of first contact with the pathogens in order to render the intruders harmless on the spot. To do this, it must be achieved that CD8 T cells settle in the genital tissue.
A patch against sexual diseases
A first strategy was to inject these vaccines into the genital tissue. However, this option turned out to be patient-unfriendly and inefficient. The British research team has now successfully made the necessary active ingredients available through the skin. The active ingredients enter the body via a special vaccine patch with microneedles and are then transported to the genital tissue. There they ensure that the CD8 T cells are called to these regions.
The vaccination method needs to be tested in more detail
"This study shows how specialized groups of innate immune cells in distant tissues can be used to attract protective CD8 T cells that protect the body's own tissues from infections," summarizes the lead author of the study, Professor Linda Klavinskis, in a press release. that could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of vaccines against sexually transmitted infections. However, the results must be checked in more detail beforehand. (vb)