Prime-boost vaccine strategy against viral infections: Mechanisms and benefits

Vaccine. 2016 Jan 20;34(4):413-423. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.11.062. Epub 2015 Dec 13.


The essential goal of vaccination is to generate potent and long-term protection against diseases. Among different vaccine modalities, prime-boost vaccine strategies could enhance cellular and also humoral immunity in several animal models. These strategies have been applied for the development of vaccines against important infectious diseases such as HIV, SIV, HCV, HSV, and HBV indicating promising results even in clinical trials. Several factors including selection of antigen, type of vector, delivery route, dose, adjuvant, boosting regimen, the order of vector injection, and the intervals between different vaccinations influence the outcome of prime-boost immunization approaches. The reported data suggest that the prime-boost strategy as a combination of vaccines (i.e., heterologous prime-boost) may be better than a single vaccine for protection against infectious diseases. Indeed, in many cases, heterologous prime-boost can be more immunogenic than homologous prime-boost strategy. This review discusses the recent advances in prime-boost immunization strategies as well as their benefits and mechanisms of action.

Keywords: Infectious disease; Mechanism of action; Prime-boost vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunization, Secondary / methods*
  • Vaccines, DNA / therapeutic use
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Viral Vaccines