Challenge

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Design Antigens for Effective, Protective Immunity

We are currently unable to produce antigens that predictably elicit high affinity antibodies or T cell responses against the determined structure of a known or candidate immunogen.
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Nature and Context

The molecular revolution in biology, especially the ability to know the sequence of all genes of pathogenic organisms, along with advances in immunology, structural biology and biochemistry, has enabled the rapid identification of antigenic sequences and structures that are the target of a desired immune response.  Once such an antigen is identified, its utility as a vaccine depends upon knowing that giving the antigen to an individual predictably results in the production of an immune response against that aspect of the antigen necessary for specific protective immunity. Developing methods to construct antigens that predictably elicit such antibodies or T cell responses by establishing the desired target structure, assuring that it is seen by the immune system and is the conserved epitope presented could save lives.

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