A recurring throat infection with the streptococci bacteria can cause rheumatic heart disease. Now, scientist Sumalee Prukksakorn at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and colleagues have identified a small portion of a protein, dubbed the M protein, from the bacteria, which could be used as a vaccine (The Lancet, Vol 344, No 8923).
The scientists have synthesised the effective portion of the protein and have found that people tested with the vaccine produced antibodies -- chemicals in the blood that can destroy the offending bacteria.
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