DNA Vaccines

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Chapter: Pharmaceutical Microbiology : Vaccination And Immunization

A development associated with research into gene therapy has been the use of DNA encoding specific virulence factors of defined pathogens to evoke an immune response.


DNA Vaccines

 

A development associated with research into gene therapy has been the use of DNA encoding specific virulence factors of defined pathogens to evoke an immune response. The DNA is introduced directly into tissue cells by means of a transdermal ‘gene gun’ and is transcribed by the recipient cells. Accordingly, the host responds to the antigenic material produced as though it were an infection. The course of release of the antigen reflects that of a natural infection and, therefore, a highly specific response is invoked. Eventually the introduced DNA is lost from the recipient cells and antigen release ceases. To date, few experimental trials have demonstrated convincing protection in humans, but this remains a promising approach. Protective immunity has been reported in a trial of a human vaccine for bird flu and a West Nile virus vaccine for horses has been approved.


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