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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008 Nov;7(9):1357-65. doi: 10.1586/14760584.7.9.1357.

Strategies toward vaccines against Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, VA 22908-0734, USA.


Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei are Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria, and are the causative agents of the diseases glanders and melioidosis, respectively. These bacteria have been recognized as important pathogens for over 100 years, yet a relative dearth of available information exists regarding their virulence determinants and immunopathology. Infection with either of these bacteria presents with nonspecific symptoms and can be either acute or chronic, impeding rapid diagnosis. The lack of a vaccine for either bacterium also makes them potential candidates for bioweaponization. Together with their high rate of infectivity via aerosols and resistance to many common antibiotics, both bacteria have been classified as category B priority pathogens by the US NIH and US CDC, which has spurred a dramatic increase in interest in these microorganisms. Attempts have been made to develop vaccines for these infections, which would not only benefit military personnel, a group most likely to be targeted in an intentional release, but also individuals who may come in contact with glanders-infected animals or live in areas where melioidosis is endemic. This review highlights some recent attempts of vaccine development for these infections and the strategies used to improve the efficacy of vaccine approaches.

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