Use of prior vaccinations for the development of new vaccines

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Science  27 Jul 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4967, pp. 423-425
DOI: 10.1126/science.1696030


There is currently a need for vaccine development to improve the immunogenicity of protective epitopes, which themselves are often poorly immunogenic. Although the immunogenicity of these epitopes can be enhanced by linking them to highly immunogenic carriers, such carriers derived from current vaccines have not proven to be generally effective. One reason may be related to epitope-specific suppression, in which prior vaccination with a protein can inhibit the antibody response to new epitopes linked to the protein. To circumvent such inhibition, a peptide from tetanus toxoid was identified that, when linked to a B cell epitope and injected into tetanus toxoid-primed recipients, retained sequences for carrier but not suppressor function. The antibody response to the B cell epitope was enhanced. This may be a general method for taking advantage of previous vaccinations in the development of new vaccines.

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