At the Emory Vaccine Center, scientists have found that virus-mimicking nanoparticles may play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of future vaccines. The scientists mimicked the Yellow Fever vaccine, a live-attenuated vaccine that activates the immune system by stimulating Toll-like receptors (TLRs), by designing nanoparticles similar to the Yellow Fever virus with regards to size and composition of immunological components. The particles were "studded with molecules that turn on Toll-like receptors". When used in mice, the virus-like particles induced life-long immunity to Yellow Fever, just as the live-attenuated Yellow Fever vaccine does.
Implications of these findings suggest that these synthesized nanoparticles may be used in vaccines to induce immunity to an infection when material for vaccines is in low supply, as is common in the case in pandemics or emerging infections. Moreover, these nanoparticles may play a role in developing vaccines to induce immunity against widespread and/or dangerous infections that do not yet have vaccines.