Journal Article

Large Animal Models for Vaccine Development and Testing

Volker Gerdts, Heather L. Wilson, Francois Meurens, Sylvia van Drunen Littel - van den Hurk, Don Wilson, Stewart Walker, Colette Wheler, Hugh Townsend and Andrew A. Potter

in ILAR Journal

Published on behalf of Institute for Laboratory Animal Research

Volume 56, issue 1, pages 53-62
Published in print May 2015 | ISSN: 1084-2020
Published online May 2015 | e-ISSN: 1930-6180 | DOI:
Large Animal Models for Vaccine Development and Testing

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The development of human vaccines continues to rely on the use of animals for research. Regulatory authorities require novel vaccine candidates to undergo preclinical assessment in animal models before being permitted to enter the clinical phase in human subjects. Substantial progress has been made in recent years in reducing and replacing the number of animals used for preclinical vaccine research through the use of bioinformatics and computational biology to design new vaccine candidates. However, the ultimate goal of a new vaccine is to instruct the immune system to elicit an effective immune response against the pathogen of interest, and no alternatives to live animal use currently exist for evaluation of this response. Studies identifying the mechanisms of immune protection; determining the optimal route and formulation of vaccines; establishing the duration and onset of immunity, as well as the safety and efficacy of new vaccines, must be performed in a living system. Importantly, no single animal model provides all the information required for advancing a new vaccine through the preclinical stage, and research over the last two decades has highlighted that large animals more accurately predict vaccine outcome in humans than do other models. Here we review the advantages and disadvantages of large animal models for human vaccine development and demonstrate that much of the success in bringing a new vaccine to market depends on choosing the most appropriate animal model for preclinical testing.

Keywords: large animals; animal models; vaccine; vaccine efficacy

Journal Article.  7178 words. 

Subjects: Research Methods in Life Sciences

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