Protection from viral infection via colonization of mucosal membranes with genetically modified bacteria
This invention relates to the use of genetically modified, non-pathogenic bacteria on the mucosal surfaces of a host to inhibit infection by specific viruses at mucosal surfaces. Specifically, non-pathogenic bacteria are modified to acquire the capacity to bind and functionally inactivate specific viruses. Further manipulations are devised to ensure the persistent colonization of said bacteria on the desired mucosal surface of a host. The capacity to bind a pathogen by said bacteria may be accomplished through the expression on the bacterial surface of a molecule, either a polypeptide or carbohydrate moiety, which binds specifically to a molecule on the target virus. Such a capacity may be conferred upon said bacteria via genetic manipulations. Genetic manipulations of said bacteria may be carried out in vitro and the genetically-engineered bacteria applied onto the desired mucosal surface of a host, or genetic material may be directly introduced into bacteria which are already resident on the desired mucosal surface of a host through a vector.
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