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Discovery paves way for salmonella vaccine

An international research team led by a University of California, Davis, immunologist has taken an important step toward an effective vaccine against salmonella, a group of increasingly antibiotic-resistant foodborne bacteria that kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year.

The researchers’ discovery will be published the week of Feb. 13 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research team has identified a set of antigens — molecules in the invading bacteria that trigger an immune response — that is common to both mice and humans.

“These antigens will provide the research community with a foundation for developing a protective salmonella vaccine,” said Stephen McSorley, an immunologist and associate professor in the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine, which investigates diseases that afflict both humans and animals.

Salmonella bacteria cause foodborne illness in industrialized nations. More than 1.4 million cases occur annually in the United States alone, according to the World Health Organization, at an estimated cost of $3 billion and the loss of 580 lives.

There are currently no vaccines for the strains of salmonella that cause these type of illnesses.

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