Pneumococcal vaccines: past findings, present work, and future strategies

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The importance of Streptococcus pneumoniae has been well established. These bacteria can colonize infants and adults without symptoms, but in some cases can spread, invade other tissues and cause disease with high morbidity and mortality. The development of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) caused an enormous impact in invasive pneumococcal disease and protected unvaccinated people by herd effect. However, serotype replacement is a well-known phenomenon that has occurred after the introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and has also been reported for other PCVs. Therefore, it is possible that serotype replacement will continue to occur even with higher valence formulations, but the development of serotype-independent vaccines might overcome this problem. Alternative vaccines are under development in order to improve cost effectiveness, either using proteins or the pneumococcal whole cell. These approaches can be used as a stand-alone strategy or together with polysaccharide vaccines. Looking ahead, the next generation of pneumococcal vaccines can be impacted by the new technologies recently approved for human use, such as mRNA vaccines and viral vectors. In this paper, we will review the advantages and disadvantages of the addition of new polysaccharides in the current PCVs, mainly for low- and middle-income countries, and we will also address future perspectives.
Oliveira GS, Oliveira MLS, Miyaji EN, Rodrigues TC. Pneumococcal vaccines: past findings, present work, and future strategies. Vaccines. 2021 Nov;9(11):1338. doi:10.3390/vaccines9111338.
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