News2013 Runners-Up

In Vaccine Design, Looks Do Matter

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Science  20 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6165, pp. 1442-1443
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6165.1442-a

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In work that Science ranked as a runner-up for Breakthrough of the Year, researchers used structural biology—the study of the molecules of life—to design the key ingredient of a vaccine against a dangerous childhood disease. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections hospitalize millions of infants every year. This year, scientists crystallized an antibody the body uses to combat RSV; then they analyzed its structure and used the information to design an immunogen that may lead to a vaccine. Other researchers hope a similar approach will yield new HIV drugs.