Researchers at the University of California, Davis may have discovered the building blocks of a vaccine that can protect against the effects of Salmonella, one of the most common food borne pathogens. The study is published in the most current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and would offer safety for millions of at risk individuals each year.
Crediting the discovery of eight antigens common in human infections that trigger an immune response inside the bacteria once in the bloodstream, the researchers say that the discovery will provide the scientific community with the necessary tools in developing a vaccine against the deadly bacteria. The team produced 2,700 proteins, mostly from Salmonella bacteria. Fourteen of the proteins appeared in all of the test subjects and behaved likes antigens in blood samples, including the eight found to bring the greatest potential for a vaccine, according to an article in Food Safety News.
More than 40,000 Salmonella infections are reported in America every year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, but as many as 1.2 million Americans may be infected annually.
Salmonella is commonly found in animal products including raw meats, poultry and eggs. Symptoms can range from mild flu like fever, diarrhea, headache and muscle aches to more severe life-threatening conditions, especially in small children, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems. While treatment has been most often with the use of antibiotics, the widespread use of “preventative” antibiotics found in livestock feed has created an array of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are more difficult to treat, leading to a rise in resistant bacteria, like Salmonella.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger