Vaccine-induced enhancement of viral infections

Vaccine. 2009 Jan 22;27(4):505-12. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.10.087. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


Examples of vaccine-induced enhancement of susceptibility to virus infection or of aberrant viral pathogenesis have been documented for infections by members of different virus families. Several mechanisms, many of which still are poorly understood, are at the basis of this phenomenon. Vaccine development for lentivirus infections in general, and for HIV/AIDS in particular, has been little successful. Certain experimental lentiviral vaccines even proved to be counterproductive: they rendered vaccinated subjects more susceptible to infection rather than protecting them. For vaccine-induced enhanced susceptibility to infection with certain viruses like feline coronavirus, Dengue virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus, it has been shown that antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) plays an important role. Other mechanisms may, either in the absence of or in combination with ADE, be involved. Consequently, vaccine-induced enhancement has been a major stumble block in the development of certain flavi-, corona-, paramyxo-, and lentivirus vaccines. Also recent failures in the development of a vaccine against HIV may at least in part be attributed to induction of enhanced susceptibility to infection. There may well be a delicate balance between the induction of protective immunity on the one hand and the induction of enhanced susceptibility on the other. The present paper reviews the currently known mechanisms of vaccine-induced enhancement of susceptibility to virus infection or of aberrant viral pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Susceptibility / etiology*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Lentivirus Infections / immunology
  • Lentivirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Viral Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Virus Internalization
  • Virus Replication


  • Viral Vaccines