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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2012 Oct;15(5):596-602. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Vaccines and antibiotic resistance.

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Novartis Vaccines, Research Center, via Fiorentina 1, 53100, Siena, Italy.


Vaccines and antibiotics have significantly contributed to improve health and also to increase the longevity of human beings. The fast-acting effect of antibiotics makes them indispensable to treat infected patients. Likewise, when the causative agent of the infection is unknown and in cases of superinfections with different species of bacteria, antibiotics appear to be the only therapeutic option. On the contrary, vaccines are usually not efficacious in people already infected and their action is generally limited to a much narrowed range of pathogens. However, vaccines have contributed to the eradication of some of the most deadly infectious agents worldwide, can generate immunity to infections lasting for several years or life-long, and are able to induce herd immunity. Nonetheless, infectious diseases are still among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. This is mainly owing to the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and the lack of efficacious medications to treat several other infectious diseases. Development of new vaccines appears to be a promising solution to these issues. Indeed, with the advent of new discovery approaches and adjuvants, today is possible to make vaccines virtually against every pathogen. In addition, while vaccine-resistant bacteria have never been reported, accumulating literature is providing evidence that vaccination can reduce the raise of antibiotic resistant strains by decreasing their use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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