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J Biotechnol. 1999 Jul 30;73(1):1-33.

Production of recombinant subunit vaccines: protein immunogens, live delivery systems and nucleic acid vaccines.

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Department of Biotechnology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden.


The first scientific attempts to control an infectious disease can be attributed to Edward Jenner, who, in 1796 inoculated an 8-year-old boy with cowpox (vaccinia), giving the boy protection against subsequent challenge with virulent smallpox. Thanks to the successful development of vaccines, many major diseases, such as diphtheria, poliomyelitis and measles, are nowadays kept under control, and in the case of smallpox, the dream of eradication has been fulfilled. Yet, there is a growing need for improvements of existing vaccines in terms of increased efficacy and improved safety, besides the development of completely new vaccines. Better technological possibilities, combined with increased knowledge in related fields, such as immunology and molecular biology, allow for new vaccination strategies. Besides the classical whole-cell vaccines, consisting of killed or attenuated pathogens, new vaccines based on the subunit principle, have been developed, e.g. the Hepatitis B surface protein vaccine and the Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine. Recombinant techniques are now dominating in the strive for an ideal vaccine, being safe and cheap, heat-stable and easy to administer, preferably single-dose, and capable of inducing broad immune response with life-long memory both in adults and in infants. This review will describe different recombinant approaches used in the development of novel subunit vaccines, including design and production of protein immunogens, the development of live delivery systems and the state-of-the-art for nucleic acids vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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