Features of Effective T Cell-Inducing Vaccines against Chronic Viral Infections

Front Immunol. 2018 Feb 16;9:276. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00276. eCollection 2018.


For many years, the focus of prophylactic vaccines was to elicit neutralizing antibodies, but it has become increasingly evident that T cell-mediated immunity plays a central role in controlling persistent viral infections such as with human immunodeficiency virus, cytomegalovirus, and hepatitis C virus. Currently, various promising prophylactic vaccines, capable of inducing substantial vaccine-specific T cell responses, are investigated in preclinical and clinical studies. There is compelling evidence that protection by T cells is related to the magnitude and breadth of the T cell response, the type and homing properties of the memory T cell subsets, and their cytokine polyfunctionality and metabolic fitness. In this review, we evaluated these key factors that determine the qualitative and quantitative properties of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in the context of chronic viral disease and prophylactic vaccine development. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying T cell-mediated protection against chronic viral pathogens will facilitate the development of more potent, durable and safe prophylactic T cell-based vaccines.

Keywords: T cells; chronic infection; prophylaxis; quality; vaccine; virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / pharmacology
  • Virus Diseases / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Viral Vaccines