Researchers working on West Nile virus vaccine

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- Oklahoma researchers are developing a vaccination to prevent the West Nile virus.

 The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are working together to develop the vaccine.

 The researchers have spent the past few years working on the vaccination.

Dr. James Papin, researcher at OUHSC said,”We know that we can do it and we know through lab models that it can actually protect against infection”.

Dr. Papin said they have been able to isolate a strain of the virus.

They then use a chemical which “inactivates” it and renders the virus harmless.

Dr. Robert Floyd with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation said, “It looks very promising and obviously it could be very beneficial if it were developed”.

Dr. Floyd developed the technique now being used to create the vaccine.

 The researchers use a wavelength of light and a chemical called Methylene Blue to inactivate the virus.

 Dr. Floyd used this same combination when conducting AIDS research.

Dr. Floyd said, “The way that this drug interacts with the virus and in the presence of light it kills the virus”.

Researchers say funding is always an issue when developing a vaccine.  It could take years before the vaccine is ready for humans.