Scientists from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) have developed a new preparation method that renders a bacterium non-infectious while preserving its use in vaccine development. This is through exposure to gamma radiation.
In some recent research, a vaccine was exposed to megadoses of gamma radiation was successfully tested in mice against drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
High doses of radiation typically destroy a pathogen's genome, rendering it unable to cause infection when used in a vaccine. However, radiation also damages a microbe's protein epitopes, which the immune system must recognize for a vaccine to be protective.
For more details, refer to the following paper:
Elena K. Gaidamakova, Ian A. Myles, Dennis P. McDaniel, Cedar J. Fowler, Patricia A. Valdez, Shruti Naik, Manoshi Gayen, Paridhi Gupta, Anuj Sharma, Pamela J. Glass, Radha K. Maheshwari, Sandip K. Datta, Michael J. Daly. Preserving Immunogenicity of Lethally Irradiated Viral and Bacterial Vaccine Epitopes Using a Radio- Protective Mn2 -Peptide Complex from Deinococcus. Cell Host & Microbe, 2012; 12 (1): 117