Virology Research Journal

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Challenges and dilemmas about vaccines against Epstein Barr virus and the other herpesviruses

21st World Congress and Exhibition on Vaccines, Vaccination & Immunization
November 09-10, 2017 Vienna, Austria

Emmanuel Drouet

University of Grenoble-Alpes, France

Scientific Tracks Abstracts : Virol Res J


Human Herpesviruses (HHV1-8) have co-evolved through a persistent infection in the host, spread efficiently to others, generally without causing serious disease. The complex interplay between host and virus has made it difficult to elaborate useful vaccine strategies to protect against the HHV-associated diseases. The Varicella-Zoster vaccine represents the paradigm of a successful Herpesvirus vaccine. This live-attenuated vaccine demonstrates unequivocally that it is possible to develop vaccines against these viruses. Over the years, the development of HHV vaccines has been a story of mixed fortunes, especially for HSV-2 and HCMV. However, studies carried out in various disease settings (i.e. transplant patients or pregnant women), have clearly emphasized the importance of cellular immunity and it is indeed encouraging to see that recent HHV vaccine (i.e. HCMV) development programs have started to incorporate this arm of the immune system. Nowadays, an array of arguments calls for a realistic goal for vaccine strategies which should be preventing HHV disease rather than HHV infection. It is particularly the case for the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV or HHV4) which is the primary cause of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with epithelial cell carcinomas, as well as lymphoid malignancies. One challenge is that the EBV expresses very different proteins during its lytic and its latent phases. To address this, vaccine candidates have been designed to include proteins from both phases. Here we review the history of EBV vaccine development and the current strategies in the development of new EBV vaccines: As EBV is associated with nearly 200,000 new malignancies each year worldwide, an EBV vaccine to prevent these diseases is really needed. Parallel to this need one could propose priorities for future research: (i) identification of surrogate markers that predict the development of EBV-related malignancies. (ii) definition of a goal for an EBV vaccine and criteria for licensure.


Emmanuel Drouet is a Professor of Virology at the University of Grenoble-Alps (France), He previously served as a Biomedical Pathologist in the Institut Pasteur (Lyon, France). His research investigates the persisting viruses in human (RNA and DNA viruses) and the balance with our host immune system. He focuses on their effects on humans (both their impact in pathology and their symbiotic relationships in humans). He has an excellent track record in herpesvirus field, and his group is engaged in clinical research in the field of EBV diseases. His current research included the field of Hepatitis C Virus research, leading to elucidation of some aspects of its epidemiology and control.

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