With the COVID-19 vaccines on many people’s minds, some may be surprised to learn that we do not yet have vaccines for many common infectious diseases. Take Salmonella, for example, which can infect people through contaminated food, water, and animals. According to the World Health Organization, non-typhoidal Salmonella infection affects more than 95 million people globally each year, leading to an estimated 2 million deaths annually. There is no approved vaccine for Salmonella in humans, and some strains are antibiotic-resistant. But, just as scientists spent decades doing the basic research that made the eventual development of the COVID-19 vaccines possible, University of Florida researchers led by Mariola Edelmann, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, are laying the groundwork for an effective vaccine for Salmonella and other hard-to-treat bacterial infections. In their study, supported by the National Institutes of Health and published online on May 6, 2021 in PLoS Pathogens, the UF/IFAS scientists demonstrate a novel approach to triggering immunity against Salmonella. The open-access article is titled “Antigen-Encapsulating Host Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Salmonella-Infected Cells Stimulate Pathogen-Specific Th1-Type Responses in Vivo” (https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat....). This approach takes advantage of how cells communicate with each other, said Winnie Hui (photo), first author of the study, which was conducted while she was a doctoral candidate in microbiology and cell science.
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