The WHO-directed vaccination campaign against smallpox in the fate 1970s led to the eradication of the variola virus and made the anti-smallpox vaccination unnecessary. The currently available vaccines have also provided substantial protection against various infectious diseases. 'Conventional' vaccines (containing attenuated live or inactivated pathogens or their immunogenic components), however, would not afford protection against many bacterium-, virus- or parasite-caused diseases, or their use would not meet the necessary safety requirements. The increasing knowledge in molecular biology relating to these pathogens and basic immunology, and also revolutionary progress in gene technology, have provided alternative possibilities for the development of vaccines against such pathogens. One of the alternatives is the production and use of bacterial or viral proteins engineered by expression vectors (bacterium, virus, yeast or plant), which would induce humoral immune responses in the immunised individuals. Another alternative is the use of recombinant vectors themselves (bacterium, virus or plasmid) for immunisation, which would induce not only humoral, but also cellular immune response against the inserted gene product. The most promising vectors are the virus vectors, which do not fully replicate, but express early genes in human cells, and the eukaryotic plasmid vectors (DNA immunisation). The application of molecular biology in preventive approaches, will soon lead to the development of a number of effective and safe vaccines against severe human and animal diseases.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Lege Artis Medicinae|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 14 1999|
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