Principles of Vaccination

  • Fred ZeppEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1403)


While many of the currently available vaccines have been developed empirically, with limited understanding on how they activate the immune system and elicit protective immunity, the recent progress in basic sciences like immunology, microbiology, genetics, and molecular biology has fostered our understanding on the interaction of microorganisms with the human immune system. In consequence, modern vaccine development strongly builds on the precise knowledge of the biology of microbial pathogens, their interaction with the human immune system, as well as their capacity to counteract and evade innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. Strategies engaged by pathogens strongly determine how a vaccine should be formulated to evoke potent and efficient protective immune responses. The improved knowledge of immune response mechanisms has facilitated the development of new vaccines with the capacity to defend against challenging pathogens and can help to protect individuals particular at risk like immunocompromised and elderly populations. Modern vaccine development technologies include the production of highly purified antigens that provide a lower reactogenicity and higher safety profile than the traditional empirically developed vaccines. Attempts to improve vaccine antigen purity, however, may result in impaired vaccine immunogenicity. Some of such disadvantages related to highly purified and/or genetically engineered vaccines yet can be overcome by innovative technologies, such as live vector vaccines, and DNA or RNA vaccines. Moreover, recent years have witnessed the development of novel adjuvant formulations that specifically focus on the augmentation and/or control of the interplay between innate and adaptive immune systems as well as the function of antigen-presenting cells. Finally, vaccine design has become more tailored, and in turn has opened up the potential of extending its application to hitherto not accessible complex microbial pathogens plus providing new immunotherapies to tackle diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune disease. This chapter gives an overview of the key considerations and processes involved in vaccine development. It also describes the basic principles of normal immune respoinses and its their function in defense of infectious agents by vaccination.

Key words

Vaccine Vaccination Immunology Pathogen T cell B cell Infectious disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity Medicine MainzMainzGermany

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