Research Topic

Recent Advances in Precision Vaccine Discovery & Development

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Vaccines are among the most effective public health interventions currently available. Immunization has increased life expectancy in both high- and low-income countries by eliminating many pathogens that historically killed millions. However, there is still a major unmet need for the development of vaccines ...

Vaccines are among the most effective public health interventions currently available. Immunization has increased life expectancy in both high- and low-income countries by eliminating many pathogens that historically killed millions. However, there is still a major unmet need for the development of vaccines against pathogens that are newly emerging or for which vaccine development has been unsuccessful thus far.

A vaccine may be effective in animal models and protect against bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral infections. However, for the administration of a vaccine to be effective in humans, there are many factors that should be considered, as among others the age of the target population, the adjuvant, and the route of vaccination.

The vast majority of administered vaccines so far have been developed using traditional vaccinology methods, which rely on empirical screening of a few antigens, adjuvants or formulations at a time. In recent years, an array of microbiological, molecular and bioinformatic ("omic") techniques have been developed or vastly improved upon. This enables new vaccines to be specifically identified, designed, produced and delivered with the aim of optimizing the induction of a protective immune response using well-defined formulations. Excellent examples of this is the emergence of vaccines containing Toll-like Receptor (TLR) agonists, such as in the case of HPV and HBV. New knowledge about the functioning of the immune system and host pathogen interactions continues to stimulate the rational design of vaccines.

The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together the latest developments and opinions from different disciplines of precision vaccine development, such as systems vaccinology, omics development, human in vitro modeling, adjuvant discovery and development, and bioinformatics. The aim of such a multi-disciplinary collection is to provide further insights and enhance the development of novel vaccines, as well as to increase our understanding of the working mechanism of existing vaccines.

We welcome the submission of Original Research, Reviews, Opinion and Perspectives, and Clinical trials on the following themes related to Precision vaccine development:

1. Immune ontogeny. The immune system develops with age, demonstrating distinct functionality and unique responses to common vaccine adjuvants within different age groups, such as newborns, infants, adults and elders. Contributions on the development of new vaccines for vulnerable populations such as the young or elderly are therefore particularly welcome.

2. In vitro modeling of human immunity. Increased sensitivity of many OMIC techniques enables analysis of individual cells, making it possible to dissect molecular signaling pathways in vitro, in response to vaccine formulations using small blood samples.

3. Systems vaccinology and multi-omic data integration. Systems biology approaches, employing high-dimensional molecular and cellular measurements along with unbiased analytic approaches, have increased our understanding of basal and altered molecular states in adults. Its application on small samples in the context of vaccination can provide meaningful insights into vaccine development.

4. Adjuvant discovery, development and formulation. Formulation systems can dictate adjuvant properties (e.g., by targeting an adjuvant to the responsive cell subset); therefore, adjuvantation and formulation systems need to be considered in a holistic and intertwined manner. We welcome the submission of original research articles reporting the development of novel immune-potentiating small molecules and methodologies for how to formulate these.

Topic Editor Jay Evans is the co-founder, President and CEO of Inimmune Corporation. The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: adjuvant, systems biology, human in vitro modeling, bioinformatics


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