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Microb Biotechnol. 2012 Mar;5(2):149-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2011.00276.x. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Vaccines for the future: learning from human immunology.

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Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Siena, Italy.


Conventional vaccines have been extremely successful in preventing infections by pathogens expressing relatively conserved antigens through antibody-mediated effector mechanisms. Thanks to vaccination some diseases have been eradicated and mortality due to infectious diseases has been significantly reduced. However, there are still many infections that are not preventable with vaccination, which represent a major cause of mortality worldwide. Some of these infections are caused by pathogens with a high degree of antigen variability that cannot be controlled only by antibodies, but require a mix of humoral and cellular immune responses. Novel technologies for antigen discovery, expression and formulation allow now for the development of vaccines that can better cope with pathogen diversity and trigger multifunctional immune responses. In addition, the application of new genomic assays and systems biology approaches in human immunology can help to better identify vaccine correlates of protection. The availability of novel vaccine technologies, together with the knowledge of the distinct human immune responses that are required to prevent different types of infection, should help to rationally design effective vaccines where conventional approaches have failed.

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