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Viruses start to outsmart vaccines
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Viruses are starting to outsmart vaccines

Viruses are starting to outsmart vaccines. The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has doubled its rate of mutations since a vaccine was introduced across China, researchers have discovered.
The rate of 'escape mutations', as they are called, had nearly tripled by 2005, some 20 years after the HBV vaccine was introduced across China. A new vaccine strategy-which may mean boosting the dose or coming up with a different formulation-is now necessary, say researchers from the University of North Carolina.
Mutations rates were around 6 per cent in 1992, but reached 15 per cent by 2005. Researchers tested the mutation rate on vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and the changes were seen only in those who had been vaccinated.
The HBV vaccine was introduced in China in the 1980s, and researchers say it has been successful in protecting small children against the virus, which can affect the liver, causing vomiting, inflammation and jaundice.
(Source: Journal of Virology, October 2013. Published ahead of print)

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