The development of vaccines: how the past led to the future

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Oct 3;9(12):889-93. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2668.


The history of vaccine development has seen many accomplishments, but there are still many diseases that are difficult to target, and new technologies are being brought to bear on them. Past successes have been largely due to elicitation of protective antibodies based on predictions made from the study of animal models, natural infections and seroepidemiology. Those predictions have often been correct, as indicated by the decline of many infections for which vaccines have been made over the past 200 years.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / history
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / history
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Cell Culture Techniques / history
  • Genetic Engineering / history
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Vaccines / genetics
  • Vaccines / history*
  • Vaccines / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / history
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Vaccines