Vaccine design:  Traditional vaccine technologies typically consist of delivering whole viruses that have been rendered non-infectious. While this approach has led to many successful vaccines, several viruses, including HIV, have proven to be difficult to develop vaccines against using these traditional methods. However, IPD scientists and collaborators have designed proteins that display a region of a viral protein, or epitope, that is known to be important for the function of the virus. Used as a vaccine, the designed protein will evoke an immune response against the viral epitope and block the function of the entire virus once a person is challenged with a viral infection. These techniques are currently being used to develop new vaccines for HIV and other human pathogens.

Strategy for designing a virus-free vaccine for HIV (Image modified from: Azoitei M.L., Correia B.E. et al. (2011))