NYBC's Laboratory of Viral Immunology Acknowledged for Leadership in Developing a Vaccine Against MERS

Aug 15, 2013, 09:56 ET from New York Blood Center

World Health Organization Says SARS-Like Illness "A Threat to the Entire World"

NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NYBC's Laboratory of Viral Immunology at its Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute was acknowledged and commented upon by the editor of Nature Medicine in the August 2013 edition, indicating the lab, headed by Shibo Jiang, M.D., Ph.D. and Lanying Du, Ph.D., is among the pioneers in developing a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – one of the most dangerous emerging viruses.

[Link to Nature Medicine:  (http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v19/n8/full/nm0813-952.html]

MERS-CoV is a novel coronavirus causing outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like illness in the Middle East and Europe. As of August 13, 2013, the World Health Organization had been informed of 94 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection, including 47 deaths. Because of its human-to-human transmissibility and high mortality rate (50%), MERS-CoV was called "a threat to the entire world" by Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva. Recently, the Obama administration designated MERS-CoV a threat to public health and national security, and authorized the fast-tracking of approvals of tests and treatments for MERS-CoV.

"Based on our previous experience in developing SARS vaccines, we identified the receptor-binding domain and major neutralizing epitope that can be used for developing an anti-MERS vaccine," said Jiang.  "Further development of this vaccine candidate for prevention of MERS-CoV infection and halting the spread of this deadly virus is urgently needed, and we appreciate the citation in Nature Medicine."

About Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute:  Since 1964, LFKRI has led the way in blood research, breaking new ground in transfusion medicine and disease treatment and prevention. The institute is committed to furthering research efforts that support the discovery of new blood-related products, techniques, and therapies. LFKRI's work has dramatically impacted global health, improved blood banking, nurtured a generation of scientists, and added significantly to the world's store of biomedical knowledge. From the beginning, LFKRI has supported basic research to understand blood and disease at the molecular level as well as translational research that transforms the findings into major breakthroughs. With 17 state-of-the-art laboratories and close to 100 researchers, LFKRI brings world-class research to life every day. For further information, visit http://www.nybloodcenter.org/lfkri.do?sid0=64

About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For almost 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter. Follow us on Twitter: @NY_BloodCenter. Website:  www.nybloodcenter.org.

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SOURCE New York Blood Center