Vaccines play a vital role in public health and arguably represent the most important advance in modern medicine. Most successful vaccines have been developed empirically but in order to expedite future vaccine development, a better understanding of the tenets of successful vaccine- mediated protection and long-term immunity is needed. The overriding goal of vaccination is to emulate the protection afforded by natural infection but without causing overt disease. This has been established using vaccines that use (1) live, attenuated versions of their wild-type counterparts, (2) live, attenuated recombinant vaccines, (3) inactivated vaccines, or (4) subunit vaccines. In nearly all cases, booster vaccination is required. However, in some cases once high-level protective immunity is achieved, the durability of the immune response can be measured in years or even in decades. By learning how to optimize long-term immunity above the protective threshold, we may be able to develop better vaccines that are effective, yet require fewer doses in order to achieve this goal. In this presentation, I will discuss some of our current work on vaccine development in the context of current concepts associated with eliciting protective immunological memory.
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