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Despite an increase in our knowledge on host-pathogen interactions and the advancement in various cutting-edge technologies in vaccine design, there is still a dearth of effective vaccines against many human and animal diseases. More importantly, there is a great need for the design and the generation of ...

Despite an increase in our knowledge on host-pathogen interactions and the advancement in various cutting-edge technologies in vaccine design, there is still a dearth of effective vaccines against many human and animal diseases. More importantly, there is a great need for the design and the generation of vaccines in a shorter period against emerging and re-emerging pathogens that are difficult to control by other means and can cause devastating epidemics.

One of the earliest approaches in the preparation of vaccine antigen, that is still in use today due to the speed of the process, is the chemical inactivation of whole pathogens. However, there are disadvantages associated with these vaccines including the fact that inactivated antigens are mostly presented through major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-II but not MHC-I pathways by antigen-presenting cells and, as such, do not result in an efficient cell-mediated immune response that is crucial for immunity against many intracellular pathogens including viruses. In addition, chemicals used for inactivation may alter pathogen proteins that are vital for immunogenicity. Irradiation, on the other hand, has been used for many decades for pathogen inactivation with greater preservation of pathogen structural components, such as proteins, while still damaging the genetic material necessary for replication. In contrast to chemically inactivated vaccines, irradiated vaccines have been shown to produce T-cell responses, although the exact underlying mechanism has yet to be revealed. Additionally, some pilot studies on irradiated vaccines have shown their capacity to provide cross-protection against heterologous virus strains confirming the preservation of larger array of proteins needed for immunogenicity compared to other vaccine approaches. Although the technology has existed for more than half a century, only recently there has been a renewed interest in the use of irradiation for the development of vaccines. This is mainly due to the development of new irradiators which can deliver precise doses of radiation in shorter time periods and an improved understanding of the immune system allowing for a better evaluation of responses to vaccines. During the last two decades, many research reports have emerged on the use of irradiation in vaccine development. The irradiation technology used in these reports includes ionizing radiation, (e.g. gamma, X-rays, or high or low energy electrons) and UV irradiation. Irradiation is not only used to produce inactivated vaccines but also to develop replication deficient yet metabolically active pathogens which can be used as vaccine candidates, especially for bacterial and parasitic diseases.

This Research Topic will bring together progress across the field of vaccine development against human and animal pathogens using the various forms of irradiation technology available, with the aim of further stimulating its usage in the prevention and the control of infectious diseases. We welcome the submission of Original Research, Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Hypotheses and Theories, and Perspective Articles, that cover, but are not limited to, the following subtopics:
• Current status of irradiation technologies used for vaccine development
• In-vitro studies, animal experiments and human clinical trials
• Effect of irradiation on pathogens
• Inactivation of pathogens using irradiation for vaccine development and biosafety of vaccines
• Novel and alternative approaches in the development of vaccines for medical and veterinary use
• Use of irradiation to generate replication incompetent organisms as vaccine candidates
• Methods to evaluate irradiated vaccines and immunogenicity induced in the host
• Vaccine formulation
• Use of irradiation for developing vaccine adjuvants and immune stimulants against infectious diseases
• Process development and vaccine manufacturing
• Safety, regulatory and quality control aspects

Keywords: Irradiation Technologies, Vaccine


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