Vaccine Target Discovery: An review

This is the review ( from Ms. Li Chuin Chong ( She completed her first degree (BSc) in Biomedical Sciences from University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and then pursued a master's degree (MSc) in Bioinformatics at Perdana University School of Data Sciences (PU-ScDS), Malaysia. She is very enthusiastic and passionate about science. 

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She described present and future therapeutics of vaccines and its types. With the rise in novel infectious agents and disease pandemics, a new era of vaccine discovery is necessary. To address this, the new field of immunomics is described, which is synergistically powered by integrating bioinformatics methodologies with technological advances in biology and high-throughput instrumentation. By incorporating biological data from immunology and molecular biology with current genomics and proteomics, immunomics is geared to deliver an insight into immune function, optimal stimulation of immune responses and precise mapping and rational selection of immune targets that cover antigenic diversity. These efforts are expected to contribute towards the development of new generation of vaccines, tailored to both the genetic make-up of the human population and the pathogen. Vaccine technologies are also being explored for prevention or control of non-communicable diseases.

Future vaccines will be minimalistic in approach by focusing on key parts of the pathogen, such as regions containing epitopes that cover antigenic diversity and, thus, will target immunologically similar subgroups of the human population and multiple pathogen variants. This is evident from the trend observed in evolution of vaccine strategies, which has seen a shift from whole organisms to recombinant proteins, and further towards the ultimate in minimalist vaccinology, the peptide/epitope/multiepitope based vaccines. The minimalist approach is also expected to cover the safety concerns that are associated with the traditional vaccine approach of using whole organism. Vectored vaccines, suitable for ‘combination immunization’ that are produced by recombinant DNA technology and contain multivalent minimal antigens to protect against multiple infections, are considered to be the future of vaccinology. The future will bring increased integration of vaccine research with advances in immunology, molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, informatics, and high-throughput instrumentation, collective defined as the emerging field of “vaccinomics”, which is hailed to be responsible for the next ‘golden age’ in vaccinology. Awareness of the novel technological possibilities in vaccine research is also expected to grow. Future vaccinology will be based on detailed understanding of immune function, optimal stimulation of immune responses and precise mapping and rational selection of immune targets. To achieve this, vaccine development will routinely be conducted through large-scale functional studies supported by genomics, proteomics, and informatics techniques prior to clinical trials. This will provide an increased range of immune targets for vaccine design. The author expects the emergence of new generation of vaccines to be personalised to both the genetic make-up of the human population and of the disease agents. In summary, vaccinology will experience rapid progress and will eventually deliver benefits to patients from improved diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases.

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