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The Dichotomy of Pathogens and Allergens in Vaccination Approaches


The Dichotomy of Pathogens and Allergens in Vaccination Approaches

Fiona J Baird et al. Front Microbiol.


Traditional prophylactic vaccination to prevent illness is the primary objective of many research activities worldwide. The golden age of vaccination began with an approach called variolation in ancient China and the evolution of vaccines still continues today with modern developments such as the production of Gardasil(TM) against HPV and cervical cancer. The historical aspect of how different forms of vaccination have changed the face of medicine and communities is important as it dictates our future approaches on both a local and global scale. From the eradication of smallpox to the use of an experimental vaccine to save a species, this review will explore these successes in infectious disease vaccination and also discuss a few significant failures which have hampered our efforts to eradicate certain diseases. The second part of the review will explore designing a prophylactic vaccine for the growing global health concern that is allergy. Allergies are an emerging global health burden. Of particular concern is the rise of food allergies in developed countries where 1 in 10 children is currently affected. The formation of an allergic response results from the recognition of a foreign component by our immune system that is usually encountered on a regular basis. This may be a dust-mite or a prawn but this inappropriate immune response can result in a life-time of food avoidance and lifestyle restrictions. These foreign components are very similar to antigens derived from infectious pathogens. The question arises: should the allergy community be focussing on protective measures rather than ongoing therapeutic interventions to deal with these chronic inflammatory conditions? We will explore the difficulties and benefits of prophylactic vaccination against various allergens by means of genetic technology that will dictate how vaccination against allergens could be utilized in the near future.

Keywords: allergen; allergy; food allergy; prophylactic vaccination; vaccine; vaccine challenges; vaccine history.

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