Immunity and immunological memory following smallpox vaccination

Immunol Rev. 2006 Jun;211:320-37. doi: 10.1111/j.0105-2896.2006.00392.x.


The smallpox vaccine consists of live vaccinia virus and is generally considered the gold standard of vaccines, since it is the only one that has led to the complete eradication of an infectious disease from the human population. Renewed fears that smallpox might be deliberately released in an act of bioterrorism have led to resurgence in the study of immunity and immunological memory to vaccinia virus and other poxviruses. Here we review our current understanding of memory T-cell, memory B-cell, and antibody responses to vaccinia and related poxviruses, both in animal models and human subjects. Of particular interest are recent advances in understanding protective immunity to poxviruses, quantifying immunological memory to the smallpox vaccine in humans, and identifying major vaccinia-specific T-cell and B-cell epitopes. In addition, potential mechanisms for maintenance of immunological memory are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Smallpox Vaccine / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology*


  • Smallpox Vaccine