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August 3rd, 2007

BSU targets West Nile research

A nearly $1 million earmark to an appropriations bill expected to go before the U.S. House of Representatives today would fund research into a West Nile virus vaccine at Boise State University.The research would combine cutting-edge technologies from a variety of fields, including cooperation with the College of Engineering for use of a high-speed supercomputer and nanotechnology.

Cornell said Gong-Xin can use supercomputer modeling to help identify possible vaccination targets within the virus. He and Tinker would work on design of the vaccine, and Wingett would evaluate how well potential vaccines work, he said.

Among the options the team is considering for use of nanotechnology is the creation of non-organic structures similar in composition to the actual virus, Cornell said. While the structures would carry no threat to the host, their structural similarity to West Nile could cause the body to attack them, possibly building an immunity.


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