Author(s): Pugachev KV, Guirakhoo F, Monath TP
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Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Here we review recent epidemiological trends in flavivirus diseases, findings related to existing vaccines, and new directions in flavivirus vaccine research. We emphasize the need for stepped-up efforts to stop further spread and intensification of these infections worldwide. RECENT FINDINGS: Although the incidence and geographic distribution of flavivirus diseases have increased in recent years, human vaccines are available only for yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis and Kyasanur forest disease. Factors contributing to resurgence include insufficient supplies of available vaccines, incomplete vaccination coverage and relaxation in vector control. Research has been underway for 60 years to develop effective vaccines against dengue, and recent progress is encouraging. The development of vaccines against West Nile, virus recently introduced to North America, has been initiated. In addition, there is considerable interest in improving existing vaccines with respect to increasing safety (e.g. eliminating the newly recognized syndrome of yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic adverse disease), and to reducing the cost and number of doses required for effective immunization. SUMMARY: Traditional approaches to flavivirus vaccines are still employed, while recent advancements in biotechnology produced new approaches to vaccine design, such as recombinant live virus, subunit and DNA vaccines. Live chimeric vaccines against dengue, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile based on yellow fever 17D virus (ChimeriVax) are in phase I/II trials, with encouraging results. Other chimeric dengue, tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus candidates were developed based on attenuated dengue backbones. To further reduce the impact of flavivirus diseases, vaccination policies and vector control programs in affected countries require revision.
This article was published in Curr Opin Infect Dis
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