Facoltà di scienze biomediche

Virus-like particles and nanoparticles for vaccine development against HCMV

Perotti, Michela ; Perez, Laurent

In: Viruses, 2020, vol. 12, no. 1, p. 17 p

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infects more than 70% of the human population worldwide. HCMV is responsible for high morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients and remains the leading viral cause of congenital birth defects. Despite considerable efforts in vaccine and therapeutic development, HCMV infection still represents an unmet clinical need and a life-threatening disease in... More

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    Summary
    Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infects more than 70% of the human population worldwide. HCMV is responsible for high morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients and remains the leading viral cause of congenital birth defects. Despite considerable efforts in vaccine and therapeutic development, HCMV infection still represents an unmet clinical need and a life-threatening disease in immunocompromised individuals and newborns. Immune repertoire interrogation of HCMV seropositive patients allowed the identification of several potential antigens for vaccine design. However, recent HCMV vaccine clinical trials did not lead to a satisfactory outcome in term of efficacy. Therefore, combining antigens with orthogonal technologies to further increase the induction of neutralizing antibodies could improve the likelihood of a vaccine to reach protective efficacy in humans. Indeed, presentation of multiple copies of an antigen in a repetitive array is known to drive a more robust humoral immune response than its soluble counterpart. Virus-like particles (VLPs) and nanoparticles (NPs) are powerful platforms for multivalent antigen presentation. Several self-assembling proteins have been successfully used as scaffolds to present complex glycoprotein antigens on their surface. In this review, we describe some key aspects of the immune response to HCMV and discuss the scaffolds that were successfully used to increase vaccine efficacy against viruses with unmet medical need.