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Annu Rev Immunol. 2016 May 20;34:575-608. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032414-112315.

Exploiting Mucosal Immunity for Antiviral Vaccines.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520; email:


Mucosal surfaces provide a remarkably effective barrier against potentially dangerous pathogens. Therefore, enhancing mucosal immunity through vaccines-strengthening that first line of defense-holds significant promise for reducing the burden of viral diseases. The large and varied class of viral pathogens, however, continues to present thorny challenges to vaccine development. Two primary difficulties exist: Viruses exhibit a stunning diversity of strategies for evading the host immune response, and even when we understand the nature of effective immune protection against a given virus, eliciting that protection is technically challenging. Only a few mucosal vaccines have surmounted these obstacles thus far. Recent developments, however, could greatly improve vaccine design. In this review, we first sketch out our understanding of mucosal immunity and then compare the herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus, and influenza virus to illustrate the distinct challenges of developing successful vaccines and to outline potential solutions.


HIV-1/AIDS; cell-mediated immunity; herpes simplex virus; influenza virus; neutralizing antibody; tissue-resident memory; viral evasion

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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