Experts say new technologies could significantly improve vaccine development

A recent report published in Nature Immunology found that new research and technologies in the fields of antigens, genomics and immunological monitoring could speed the development of new vaccines.

The report, written by scientists exploring the creation of a Human Vaccines Project, said a focus on mapping the human immune system and a comprehensive series of human immunology-based clinical research studies could help overcome challenges in animal models.

The team said that the collective leveraging of those technologies could be used to better understand specific antigens needed for protective immunity and how to optimize vaccine efficacy in newborns, among other benefits.

The report was the result of a meeting of 35 experts from the public and private sectors who met in La Jolla, Calif., in February.

Participants in the meeting expressed optimism about the potential of a Human Vaccines Project.

"There was a very strong consensus that we now have the tools to radically change the paradigm for vaccine development and usher in a new era in disease prevention," M.K. Bhan, the former secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology for India, said.

The team of experts is set to meet again in July in New York City. A third workshop is scheduled for late 2014 or early 2015.