RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Promises and pitfalls of live attenuated pneumococcal vaccines.
The pneumococcus is a remarkably adaptable pathogen whose disease manifestations range from mucosal surface infections such as acute otitis media and pneumonia to invasive infections such as sepsis and meningitis. Currently approved vaccines target the polysaccharide capsule, of which there are over 90 distinct serotypes, leading to rapid serotype replacement in vaccinated populations. Substantial progress has been made in the development of a universal pneumococcal vaccine, with efforts focused on broadly conserved and protective protein antigens. An area attracting considerable attention is the potential application of live attenuated vaccines to confer serotype-independent protection against mucosal and systemic infection. On the basis of recent work to understand the mucosal and systemic responses to nasal administration of pneumococci and to develop novel attenuation strategies, the prospect of a practical and protective live vaccine remains promising.
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