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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Driving Dendritic Cells to Induce Immunity Against the World’s Deadliest Diseases

Huge leaps have been taken in vaccine development in recent years, seen most vividly in the wide range of vaccines submitted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; at the time of writing, WHO confirmed 182 vaccines in pre-clinical development and a further 76 in clinical development (1). With 10 different platforms, from viral vectors and inactivated viruses to DNA and protein subunits, the sheer range and volume of vaccine candidates is testament to the incredible scientific progress in this field. Yet, despite this endeavour, many of the world’s deadliest diseases are still at large. AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis alone kill millions of people each year, and, of course, COVID-19 is a stark reminder that emerging viruses and zoonotic diseases carry their own considerable threat.

What’s holding us back from responding to well understood, widespread diseases and potentially threatening new variants? The answer lies in our traditional vaccine development approach. Tried and tested methods involving inactivated and attenuated viruses are designed to initiate a mainly humoral response, largely disregarding the highly effective, cell-mediated branch of adaptive immunity. Although a sustained humoral response is effective against many diseases, persistent and intracellular threats need a stronger approach.

By transducing antigen-presenting cells, lentiviral vectors can activate cell-mediated immunity to deliver safe, fast, long-lasting, and targeted immune responses against intracellular pathogens. In this article, we’ll discuss how lentiviral vectors could be the answer to developing potent prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines.

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Prof Dr Christian Brechot is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for TheraVectys. Christian is a prominent medical Doctor and researcher, and is currently a Professor at the University of South Florida, US, and President of the Global Virus Network.
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Christian Brechot
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