Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Newer Vaccine Technologies Can Speed Response

JAMA; 2018 Apr 10; Graham, Mascola, et al

To effectively address the many emerging viral diseases worldwide, vaccine developers need to think outside the box and embrace many of the modern-day technologies now available, according to Barney Graham, MD, John Mascola, MD, and Anthony Fauci, MD.

  • The experts point out that development of vaccines typically takes 15 to 20 years from the time a virus is discovered to the time a vaccine is available.
  • That long wait can be substantially shortened in many cases if developers took advantage of a variety of second-generation tools.
  • Among the latest technologies worth considering: synthetic vaccinology, which uses viral gene sequence data to speed up the vaccine development process.
  • This sequencing data can be used to manufacture nucleic acids that encode the viral surface proteins, for instance.
  • Using this approach, it is possible for DNA plasmids to encode viral proteins for preclinical testing within a few weeks.


Graham BS, Mascola JR, Fauci AS. Novel vaccine technologies essential components of an adequate response to emerging viral diseases. JAMA. 2018;319:1431-1432. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0345.