An exciting discovery by Irish scientists could lead to an improved vaccine to combat or greatly reduce the chances of children contracting the whooping cough.
The highly contagious disease leads to uncontrollable and violent coughing, which can makes it difficult for a child to breathe, which can be fatal in children of less than one year of age.
But now according to a report in IrishHealth.com a team of scientists at Trinity College Dublin have made a discovery that could lead to the development of a dramatically improved vaccine against whooping cough.
The Irish scientists have found that the efficacy of the current vaccine can be greatly improved by using another kind of adjuvant, an agent added to a drug to increase or aid its effect.
The vaccine is currently combined with an aluminum salt. However, if aluminum is replaced with an adjuvant based on bacterial DNA, the efficacy of the vaccine improves against whooping cough, said the Irish scientists.
Scientists at TCD have also reportedly discovered important differences between the types of immune responses brought about by the two different vaccines. These differences are related to white blood cells in the body, called T cells.
'Although it will not be an easy task to implement, our findings should pave the way for an improved vaccine against whooping cough in children,' commented lead scientist, Professor Kingston Mills.