Vector-based genetically modified vaccines: Exploiting Jenner's legacy

Bahar Ramezanpour, Ingrid Haan, Ab Osterhaus, Eric Claassen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The global vaccine market is diverse while facing a plethora of novel developments. Genetic modification (GM) techniques facilitate the design of 'smarter' vaccines. For many of the major infectious diseases of humans, like AIDS and malaria, but also for most human neoplastic disorders, still no vaccines are available. It may be speculated that novel GM technologies will significantly contribute to their development. While a promising number of studies is conducted on GM vaccines and GM vaccine technologies, the contribution of GM technology to newly introduced vaccines on the market is disappointingly limited. In this study, the field of vector-based GM vaccines is explored. Data on currently available, actually applied, and newly developed vectors is retrieved from various sources, synthesised and analysed, in order to provide an overview on the use of vector-based technology in the field of GM vaccine development. While still there are only two vector-based vaccines on the human vaccine market, there is ample activity in the fields of patenting, preclinical research, and different stages of clinical research. Results of this study revealed that vector-based vaccines comprise a significant part of all GM vaccines in the pipeline. This study further highlights that poxviruses and adenoviruses are among the most prominent vectors in GM vaccine development. After the approval of the first vectored human vaccine, based on a flavivirus vector, vaccine vector technology, especially based on poxviruses and adenoviruses, holds great promise for future vaccine development. It may lead to cheaper methods for the production of safe vaccines against diseases for which no or less perfect vaccines exist today, thus catering for an unmet medical need. After the introduction of Jenner's vaccinia virus as the first vaccine more than two centuries ago, which eventually led to the recent eradication of smallpox, this and other viruses may now be the basis for constructing vectors that may help us control other major scourges of mankind.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6436-6448
    Number of pages13
    Issue number50
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2016


    • Journal Article


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