Review

Vaccination strategies to enhance immunity in neonates

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Science  08 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6491, pp. 612-615
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz9447

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Abstract

Neonates are particularly susceptible to infection. This vulnerability occurs despite their responsiveness to most vaccines. However, current vaccines do not target the pathogens responsible for most of the severe neonatal infections, and the time it takes to induce protective pathogen-specific immunity after vaccination limits protection in the first days to weeks of life. Alternative strategies include using vaccines to broadly stimulate neonatal immunity in a pathogen-agnostic fashion or vaccinating women during pregnancy to induce protective antibodies that are vertically transferred to offspring within their window of vulnerability. Protection may be further improved by integrating these approaches, namely vaccinating the neonate under the cover of vertically transferred maternal immunity. The rationale for and knowledge gaps related to each of these alternatives are discussed.

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