Variola major, the causative agent of smallpox, afflicted mankind throughout history until the worldwide World Health Organisation WHO vaccination campaign successfully eradicated the disease. Unfortunately, recent concerns about bioterrorism have renewed scientific interest in this virus. One essential component of our biodefense and preparedness efforts is an understanding of poxvirus immunity. To this end a number of laboratories have sought to discover T- and B-Cell epitopes from select agents such as variola virus. This review focuses on the efforts to identify CD8+ T-Cell epitopes from poxviruses as a means to develop new vaccines and therapeutics. A wide variety of techniques have been employed by several research groups to provide complementary information regarding cellular immune responses to poxviruses. In the last several years well over 100 T-Cell epitopes have been identified and the work rapidly continues. The information gleaned from these studies will not only give us a greater understanding of immunity to variola virus and other viruses, but also provide a foundation for next generation vaccines and additional tools with which to study host-pathogen interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases