The vaccines against infectious diseases in use today are, with few exceptions, prepared from the causal agents themselves, either by inactivating them with a chemical such as formaldehyde or by attenuating them so that they grow and thus evoke an immune response in the natural host but cause no disease. These empirical approaches have produced many highly successful vaccines. Increasing knowledge at the molecular level of the agents and of the immune response to protein antigent is now providing us with the opportunity to design vaccines that will elicit protective responses without the need to use the agents themselves. The critical issue is to identify the immune responses that correlate with protection.

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