Purpose of review: In the present review, we will provide the scientific rationale for applying systems biology to the development of vaccines and particularly HIV vaccines, the predictive power of systems biology on the vaccine immunological profile, the correlation between systems biology and the immunological functional profiles of different candidate vaccines, and the value of systems biology in the selection process of identifying the best-in-class candidate vaccines and in the decision process to move into in-vivo evaluation in clinical trials.
Recent findings: Systems biology has been recently applied to the characterization of the protective yellow fever vaccine YF17D and of seasonal flu vaccines. This has been instrumental in the identification of the components of the immune response that need to be stimulated by the vaccine in order to generate protective immunity. It is worth noting that a systems biology approach is currently being performed to identify correlates of immune protection of the RV144 Thai vaccine, the only known vaccine that showed modest protection against HIV reacquisition.
Summary: Systems biology represents a novel and powerful approach to predict the vaccine immunological profile, to identify the protective components of the immune response, and to help in the selection process of the best-in-class vaccines to move into clinical development.