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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013 Nov;12(11):1301-11. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2013.840092. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Vaccines based on structure-based design provide protection against infectious diseases.

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Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, 100 Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA 19096, USA.


Vaccines elicit immune responses, provide protection against microorganisms and are considered as one of the most successful medical interventions against infectious diseases. Vaccines can be produced using attenuated virus or bacteria, recombinant proteins, bacterial polysaccharides, carbohydrates or plasmid DNA. Conventional vaccines rely on the induction of immune responses against antigenic proteins to be effective. The genetic diversity of microorganisms, coupled with the high degree of sequence variability in antigenic proteins, presents a challenge to developing broadly effective conventional vaccines. The observation that whole protein antigens are not necessarily essential for inducing immunity has led to the emergence of a new branch of vaccine design termed 'structural vaccinology'. Structure-based vaccines are designed on the rationale that protective epitopes should be sufficient to induce immune responses and provide protection against pathogens. Recent studies demonstrated that designing structure-based vaccine candidates with multiple epitopes induce a higher immune response. As yet there are no commercial vaccines available based on structure-based design and most of the structure-based vaccine candidates are in the preclinical stages of development. This review focuses on recent advances in structure-based vaccine candidates and their application in providing protection against infectious diseases.

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