A little more than a decade after the explosion of research into recombinant live-attenuated or replication-deficient viruses as vaccine platforms, many viral vector-based vaccines have been licensed for animals. Progress has been slower for humans but 2011 will see the licensure of the first viral-vectored vaccine for humans, against Japanese Encephalitis. In addition a vaccine with a viral-vectored component showed efficacy against HIV infection in humans. Viral-based vaccines have an excellent safety profile but must deal with the potential problem of pre-existing anti-vector immunity. Recent successes reflect diverse improvements such as development of new adenovirus serotypes and better prime-boost approaches, suggesting that many viral vectors are approaching their final years as vaccine 'candidates' rather than vaccines.
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