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Media TIp | Argonne National Laboratory

Media Tip: Data from Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source provides foundation for first U.S. approved RSV vaccine

How does a national laboratory, such as Argonne, play a role in the health and wellness of Americans? Using the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy user facility that functions like a giant microscope, scientists are able to see structures at the molecular level. This level of detail helps to decipher how diseases and viruses are assembled, which can lead to drug and vaccine discoveries.

An example is the recent vaccine, Arexvy, which was developed to treat Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects millions every year and results in approximately 160,000 deaths annually. The vaccine works by attacking the virus’s protruding protein, which invades cells and infects them. The vaccine stabilizes this protein in its smaller, less harmful form.

The researchers’ method of keeping the RSV virus’s spike protein collapsed in its less intrusive form is the same method that was incorporated into every COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the United States. These basic research techniques take time. Research done today could have significant health advantages in the future. Arexvy is further proof that the today’s basic research can become tomorrow’s life-saving drugs.

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Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.