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May 2020

BCG vaccination-induced emergency granulopoiesis provides rapid protection from neonatal sepsis

We found that BCG, in a mouse model of neonatal polymicrobial sepsis, induced granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) within hours of administration

Published research Infectious Diseases Systems Vaccinology
March 2019

Dynamic molecular changes during the first week of human life follow a robust developmental trajectory

Systems biology and innovative data integration can provide fresh insights into the molecular ontogeny of the first week of life

Published research Systems Vaccinology

Improving Vaccine-Induced Immunity: Can Baseline Predict Outcome?

Extensive baseline variability in immune responses (e.g., antibody titers) among individuals in given populations is increasingly being appreciated as a major contributor to vaccine response heterogeneity.

The concept of ‘baseline may predict outcome’ has recently been reported for human influenza virus, yellow fever virus, and hepatitis B virus, as well as malaria vaccination. This concept might also apply to other vaccines.

The ability to predict who might respond to immunization (and to what extent) might offer avenues for optimization of current vaccination strategies.

We posit that this simple concept might be useful and significant for vaccine design: if ‘baseline determines outcome, then altering baseline prior to vaccination could alter outcome’.

This approach could potentially lead to tailored (precision) vaccines ensuring that the majority, or all individuals vaccinated, respond by eliciting a protective immune response (i.e., devoid of non-responder individuals). Presumably, this approach might also allow the administration of fewer vaccine doses, potentially arriving at one vaccine dose only.


Vaccination strategies to enhance immunity in neonates

[Kollmann TR, Marchant A, Way SS.Science. 2020 May 8;368(6491):612-615. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz9447.PMID: 32381718]

Neonates are particularly susceptible to infection. This vulnerability occurs despite their responsiveness to most vaccines. However, current vaccines do not target the pathogens responsible for most of the severe neonatal infections, and the time it takes to induce protective pathogen-specific immunity after vaccination limits protection in the first days to weeks of life. Alternative strategies include using vaccines to broadly stimulate neonatal immunity in a pathogen-agnostic fashion or vaccinating women during pregnancy to induce protective antibodies that are vertically transferred to offspring within their window of vulnerability. Protection may be further improved by integrating these approaches, namely vaccinating the neonate under the cover of vertically transferred maternal immunity. The rationale for and knowledge gaps related to each of these alternatives are discussed.

Maternal HIV infection alters antimicrobial immunity in exposed and uninfected infants

[Marchant A, Amenyogbe N, Kollmann TR, Goetghebuer T.Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2020 May;39(5):e47-e48. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002614.PMID: 32301922]