Engineered protein gives mice complete protection, could lead to a diagnostic test.
A vaccine developed by Yale scientists has protected mice from the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne infection that has been linked to about 10 deaths in the United States since the summer of 1999.
The virus, first identified in Uganda in 1937, surfaced in the New York City area in 1999 and has subsequently appeared in the South and Midwest. It is considered an emerging disease, said Erol Fikrig, M.D., associate professor of medicine and of epidemiology and public health. “Its seriousness as a public health threat is not fully known yet,” said Fikrig, who directed the development of the vaccine. “That should become apparent over the next two to three years. If the vaccine proves necessary, its development will be valuable.”