The Challenge: Biotechnology Transfer to Public Health. Examples from Arbovirology
Infectious diseases remain the preeminent health problems in the developing world, and immunization the most effective approach to controlling them. Recombinant DNA technology has provided a plethora of new approaches for the development of vaccines. The priorities for development of new vaccines and delivery methods have been redefined by the Children’s Vaccine Initiative. Among the diseases targeted for vaccine improvement or development are three arbovirus infections, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever. The burden of disease caused by these mosquito-borne viruses, the current status of classical vaccines, and progress toward development of genetically-engineered vaccines are reviewed. Since 1984, the World Health Organization has promulgated research leading toward the development of molecular approaches to vaccines against these flaviviruses. Considerable headway has been made in the understanding of genome variation, the identification of protective epitopes, and in cloning and expression of relevant proteins in vaccinia and baculovirus systems. In addition, the development of full-length complementary DNA clones which yield infectious RNA transcripts is being pursued as a means of producing stable, attenuated and chimeric flavivirus vaccines.
KeywordsRespiratory Syncytial Virus Dengue Fever Yellow Fever Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Japanese Encephalitis
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