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Br Med Bull. 2002;62:15-28.

Immunology of vaccination.

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The Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research, Compton, Berkshire, UK.


An ideal vaccine is relatively easy to define, but few real vaccines approach the ideal and no vaccines exist for many organisms, for which a vaccine is the only realistic protective strategy in the foreseeable future. Many difficulties account for the failure to produce these vaccines. All micro-organisms deploy evasion mechanisms that interfere with effective immune responses and, for many organisms, it is not clear which immune responses provide effective protection. However, recent advances in methods for studying immune response to pathogens have provided a better understanding of immune mechanisms, including immunological memory, and led to the realisation that the initiation of immune responses is a key event requiring triggering through 'danger' signals. Based on these findings, the development of novel adjuvants, vectors and vaccine formulations allowing stimulation of optimal and prolonged protective immunity should lead to the introduction of vaccines for previously resistant organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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