Infectious diseases are the major cause of death worldwide; in developing countries such diseases are responsible for nearly half the burden of premature death and disability. Therefore, the need for the development of new vaccine strategies aimed at preventing or limiting disease is extremely urgent. Important successes have been achieved against some infectious diseases that were once endemic or, even, epidemic (e.g., polio, smallpox, diptheria). Advances in our knowledge of the pathogenesis and immune correlates of protections are needed to develop novel vaccinal approaches to diseases such as hepatitis C, AIDS and malaria. In this review we will analyse the biological problems associated with the prevention of development and/or improvement of vaccine strategies for infectious diseases, focusing on the difficulties facing the creation of new effective vaccines for HIV infection and malaria.
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