Brucellosis: the case for live, attenuated vaccines.
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The successful control of animal brucellosis and associated reduction in human exposure has limited the development of human brucellosis vaccines. However, the potential use of Brucella in bioterrorism or biowarfare suggests that direct intervention strategies are warranted. Although the dominant approach has explored the use of live attenuated vaccines, side effects associated with their use has prevented widespread use in humans. Development of live, attenuated Brucella vaccines that are safe for use in humans has focused on the deletion of important genes required for survival. However, the enhanced safety of deletion mutants is most often associated with reduced efficacy. For this reason recent efforts have sought to combine the optimal features of a attenuated live vaccine that is safe, free of side effects and efficacious in humans with enhanced immune stimulation through microencapsulation. The competitive advantages and innovations of this approach are: (1) use of highly attenuated, safe, gene knockout, live Brucella mutants; (2) manufacturing with unique disposable closed system technologies, and (3) oral/intranasal delivery in a novel microencapsulation-mediated controlled release formula to optimally provide the long term mucosal immunostimulation required for protective immunity. Based upon preliminary data, it is postulated that such vaccine delivery systems can be storage stable, administered orally or intranasally, and generally applicable to a number of agents.