Microbiology Today February 2006 - Vaccines

Infectious diseases are one of the most terrible enemies mankind has faced during its whole existence. This issue of Microbiology Today looks at the vital role that vaccines have played in our on-going battle with microbes.

The future of vaccines
The technology exists to make vaccines against most pathogens. In theory, we could free mankind from the majority of infectious diseases. Maria Lattanzi, Rino Rappuoli and Tiziana Tonini take a look at the factors that are restricting new developments. A selection of websites and sources for various infectious diseases is available in Table 1.

A single-dose, live oral typhoid vaccine: an achievable goal?
Typhoid has recently been blamed for the fall of ancient Athens and it is still common in certain parts of the world today. A one-shot, oral vaccine would greatly reduce the incidence of typhoid fever and hopefully this will soon be possible. Gordon Dougan decribes how modern molecular approaches are enabling the development of a 'designer' live attenuated vaccine against the disease.

Influenza vaccines
Bird 'flu and human influenza are hot news. There are worldwide anxieties about the spread of influenza and mutation of the virus into the cause of a human pandemic. Wendy Barclay takes a look at the latest developments in vaccines to combat these threats to health.

Challenging times for malaria vaccines
Malaria is a major killer and causes immense suffering throughout the world. More than two billion people worldwide are at risk from the disease. Sarah Gilbert explains that without willing volunteers, it would be impossible to trial the exciting new vaccines to prevent this disease that are currently under development.

Advancing DNA vaccine technology
DNA vaccines have the potential to be safer and more effective than traditional vaccination strategies. Lauren Hirao and David Weiner take a look at the challenges to overcome before these vaccines are widely accepted.

Comment: You only get what you pay for
An exiting new generation of vaccines is in the pipeline, but only if their true value and cost is recognized, according to Stephen Inglis.

Schoolzone takes a look at how we defend ourselves against microbes. Infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and polio can make people very ill and can even be deadly. Dariel Burdass explains the role of the immune system and vaccination in giving protection from these potential killers.

Gradline Editor, Jane Westwell, takes a look Beyond the post-doc and gives advice on planning for a career in university research and teaching.

Hot off the Press highlights some new developments in microbiological research published in the Society's journals - Microbiology, Journal of General Virology, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. Topics covered include:

  • Breakthrough in HIV vaccine design
  • A novel marine bacterium - Shewanella halifaxensis
  • Garlic and the fight against infection
  • Potential vaccine against the pneumococcus

Other items include:

Last updated 24 April 2006