JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Plague Vaccines: Status and Future

Wei Sun
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2016, 918: 313-360
27722869
Three major plague pandemics caused by the gram-negative bacterium Yersinia pestis have killed nearly 200 million people in human history. Due to its extreme virulence and the ease of its transmission, Y. pestis has been used purposefully for biowarfare in the past. Currently, plague epidemics are still breaking out sporadically in most of parts of the world, including the United States. Approximately 2000 cases of plague are reported each year to the World Health Organization. However, the potential use of the bacteria in modern times as an agent of bioterrorism and the emergence of a Y. pestis strain resistant to eight antibiotics bring out severe public health concerns. Therefore, prophylactic vaccination against this disease holds the brightest prospect for its long-term prevention. Here, we summarize the progress of the current vaccine development for counteracting plague.

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