In conventional vaccination an inactivated organism or part of a disease-causing organism is given to a host to stimulate the creation of antibodies as part of the immune response that recognize and attack a particular infection thus protecting against subsequent infection.
The Need for New Vaccines
Although vaccination has had many well-documented success stories, there is still a pressing need for the development of new vaccines. Even with diseases where a reliable vaccine is available, distribution and cost issues mean that vaccines are not always used where they are needed, as highlighted by the distribution of hepatitis B cases world-wide.
There is therefore a need for cheaper, more stable vaccines.
Additionally, the preparation of traditional vaccines against new and emerging threats, or new variants of current diseases can be an extremely lengthy process. The ability to produce new vaccines rapidly could potentially be of great use in combating outbreaks of diseases such as pandemic influenza. An ability to rapidly produce vaccine could also have applications in protecting against potential bioterrorist threats.