A major challenge with development of vaccines is the “moving target”, i.e. the pathogen you want to make a vaccine against, can change over time. Influenza, COVID-19, and HIV are examples of diseases where mutations in the genome of the pathogen, allows them to evade the immune responses induced in the vaccinated individuals. Such mutations may reduce the efficiency of existing vaccines. Our research group searches to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms of the immune system. We want to explore how vaccination can train the immune system to cope with mutating pathogens. Vaccines that focus immune responses towards parts of pathogens that do not mutate as often may better protect against these pathogens over time. We use a vaccine platform, an antigen presenting cell (APC)-targeting DNA vaccine, to study various mechanisms for better immune focusing strategies to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses.
See also our homepage at OUS: https://www.ous-research.no/braathen