Turkish researcher develops vaccine

Turkish researcher develops vaccine

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish researcher develops vaccine

Turkish doctor Fikri Avcı heads the team that developed a new type of vaccine. AA photo

Fikri Avcı, PhD, a Harvard University researcher, has headed a study to develop a new type of vaccine to better reinforce the immune systems of infants or the elderly. The new vaccines could prevent deaths caused by diseases such as meningitis or pneumonia.

Avcı’s study was done in cooperation with Rockefeller University. Avcı said: “My four-person team has been conducting research on this type of vaccine for five years. The study resulted in an improved version of a type of a vaccine called a ‘glycoconjugate,’ which binds carbohydrates and proteins together. These vaccines can protect people from contagious diseases such as pneumonia,” speaking to the Anatolia news agency.

The team first researched how this type of vaccine interacts with the immune system, he said. “Our research team discovered that the immune system’s T-cells recognize the carbohydrates found in vaccines, not only its proteins. This led to the first discovery of T-cells which react only to carbohydrate chain.”

A prototype for a new type of glycoconjugate vaccine has been developed using the data the team has gathered. This new generation vaccine could potentially interact more efficiently with the immune system, Avcı said.

“This type of vaccine could be very useful for populations with weaker immune systems,” Avcı said. “People who are in danger of contracting a bacterial illness such as pneumonia or meningitis may be saved.”