Clinical perspective on topical vaccination strategies

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2024 May:208:115292. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2024.115292. Epub 2024 Mar 24.


Vaccination is one of the most successful measures in modern medicine to combat diseases, especially infectious diseases, and saves millions of lives every year. Vaccine design and development remains critical and involves many aspects, including the choice of platform, antigen, adjuvant, and route of administration. Topical vaccination, defined herein as the introduction of a vaccine to any of the three layers of the human skin, has attracted interest in recent years as an alternative vaccination approach to the conventional intramuscular administration because of its potential to be needle-free and induce a superior immune response against pathogens. In this review, we describe recent progress in developing topical vaccines, highlight progress in the development of delivery technologies for topical vaccines, discuss potential factors that might impact the topical vaccine efficacy, and provide an overview of the current clinical landscape of topical vaccines.

Keywords: Clinical studies; Drug delivery; Intradermal; Nanoparticle; Permeation enhancer; Skin microbiota; Subcutaneous; Topical delivery; Topical vaccination; Vaccine adjuvants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens
  • Humans
  • Skin
  • Vaccination*
  • Vaccines*


  • Vaccines
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens