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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007 Jul;5(7):555-63.

Pathogenic epitopes, heterologous immunity and vaccine design.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA. Raymond.Welsh@umassmed.edu


Substantial research has been directed towards the development of a new generation of vaccines that are based on the inclusion of immunogenic epitopes in recombinant vectors. Here we examine the evidence that under certain conditions immunogenic epitopes can do more harm than good and might therefore be considered pathogenic. We suggest that the specific removal of such pathogenic epitopes from vaccines might increase their prophylactic potential, while minimizing the risk of side-effects from vaccine use.

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