The future of vaccine development

Special Section on “Future of Vaccine Development”; Edited by W. Koff and T. Schenkelberg
Research article Abstract only


The future of vaccine development
Wayne C. Koff, Theodore Schenkelberg
Pages 4485-4486
Vaccines are one of the most successful public health interventions in our history resulting in eradication of small pox, near eradication of polio and major reductions in case number and global morbidity and mortality for numerous diseases (Centers for Disease C, 1999) [1]. However, vaccine development has been less successful against complex infectious diseases, where pathogen variability and/or immune evasion mechanisms have combined to pose major obstacles, and have been unsuccessful against non-communicable diseases, including cancer, autoimmunity, allergy, neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases (Koff et al., 2013) [2]. In addition, the current state of vaccine development is an expensive, slow and laborious process, costing billions of dollars, taking decades, with less than a 10% rate of success (Pronker et al., 2013) [3]. While some vaccines, such as the smallpox vaccine approach the gold standard of life-long protection in everyone following a single immunization, other vaccines are less effective, often requiring multiple immunizations, being less effective to populations most susceptible to disease such as infants, the elderly, and those living in the developing world. There is clearly an urgent need to determine ways to improve not just the effectiveness of the vaccines themselves but also the very processes by which they are developed.