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Vaccines: Engineering immune evasion

Nature 441, 161 (11 May 2006) | doi:10.1038/441161a; Published online 10 May 2006
Vaccines: Engineering immune evasion

John R. Mascola1
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One obstacle to realizing the promise of viral vectors for vaccine delivery is pre-existing immunity to such vectors. An adroit application of structure-based design points to a way around that problem.

There are still no vaccines against such devastating and widespread diseases as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. Because the traditional approach of live-attenuated vaccination is not feasible for most diseases, scientists have turned to molecularly engineered viruses that contain pathogen-specific gene inserts. Such viral vectors direct host cells to produce the foreign protein of interest, thus prompting a pre-emptive immune response. Among the most promising viral vectors is a form of common-cold virus known as adenovirus serotype 5. The recombinant adenovirus vectors (rAd5) cannot replicate and can be safely administered, and they elicit both of the two main types of immune response — secreted antibodies and disease-fighting T cells.


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