Glycoconjugate vaccines: current approaches towards faster vaccine design

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2019 Sep;18(9):881-895. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2019.1657012. Epub 2019 Aug 31.


Introduction: Over the last decades, glycoconjugate vaccines have been proven to be a successful strategy to prevent infectious diseases. Many diseases remain to be controlled, especially in developing countries, and emerging antibiotic-resistant bacteria present an alarming public-health threat. The increasing complexity of future vaccines, and the need to accelerate development processes have triggered the development of faster approaches to glycoconjugate vaccines design. Areas covered: This review provides an overview of recent progress in glycoconjugation technologies toward faster vaccine design. Expert opinion: Among the different emerging approaches, glycoengineering has the potential to combine glycan assembly and conjugation to carrier systems (such as proteins or outer membrane vesicles) in one step, resulting in a simplified manufacturing process and fewer analytical controls. Chemical and enzymatic strategies, and their automation can facilitate glycoepitope identification for vaccine design. Other approaches, such as the liposomal encapsulation of polysaccharides, potentially enable fast and easy combination of numerous antigens in the same formulation. Additional progress is envisaged in the near future, and some of these systems still need to be further validated in humans. In parallel, new strategies are needed to accelerate the vaccine development process, including the associated clinical trials, up to vaccine release onto the market.

Keywords: Carbohydrates; glycoconjugates; glycoengineering; liposomes; outer membrane vesicles; synthetic oligosaccharides; vaccines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacteria / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines / genetics
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Drug Design*
  • Glycoconjugates / genetics
  • Glycoconjugates / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Liposomes
  • Polysaccharides / immunology
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / genetics
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Liposomes
  • Polysaccharides
  • Vaccines, Conjugate
  • Vaccines, Synthetic