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Virology. 2006 Jan 5;344(1):240-9.

New viral vaccines.


Vaccination is the most effective medical intervention against diseases caused by human viral pathogens. Viral vaccines prevent or modify the severity of illness in the individual and interrupt or reduce the transmission of the pathogens to other susceptible people. Through these mechanisms, vaccines against smallpox, polio, measles and hepatitis B have had an enormous impact on world health over the last 50 years. Advances in basic virology and understanding of human immunity promise more progress in the control of human viral diseases as the 21st century begins. Some important targets, including human immunodeficiency virus, respiratory syncytial virus and hepatitis C virus present challenges that require more basic research. The purpose of this review is to highlight four new viral vaccines that have recently, or will soon demonstrate the effective translation of basic investigations into clinical benefits for disease control in healthy and high-risk populations. These vaccines include the live attenuated vaccines against the RNA viruses, rotavirus and influenza A and B, and vaccines against human papilloma virus and varicella-zoster virus, which are DNA viruses that cause morbidity and mortality through their capacity to establish persistent infection. Although only the influenza vaccine has been licensed in the United States, these other new tools for disease prevention are likely to be introduced within the next few years, with profound effects on the diseases that they cause. Hence, as Virology celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is appropriate to examine these examples of recent advances in viral vaccines.

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