The Genome Revolution in Vaccine Research

Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2004 Jan;6(1):17-27.


The conventional approach to vaccine development is based on dissection of the pathogen using biochemical, immunological and microbiological methods. Although successful in several cases, this approach has failed to provide a solution to prevent several major bacterial infections. The availability of complete genome sequences in combination with novel advanced technologies, such as bioinformatics, microarrays and proteomics, have revolutionized the approach to vaccine development and provided a new impulse to microbial research. The genomic revolution allows the design of vaccines starting from the prediction of all antigens in silico, independently of their abundance and without the need to grow the pathogen in vitro. This new genome-based approach, which we have named "Reverse Vaccinology", has been successfully applied for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B for which conventional strategies have failed to provide an efficacious vaccine. The concept of "Reverse Vaccinology" can be easily applied to all the pathogens for which vaccines are not yet available and can be extended to parasites and viruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Computational Biology
  • Drug Design*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Software
  • Vaccines*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Vaccines