In 1796 Jenner provided an enormous break-through in the field of control of infectious diseases by carrying out his famous vaccination against smallpox. At the end of the 19th century it was discovered how to culture bacteria outside the body. Shortly afterwards successful vaccines against several bacterial infections were developed. It took until the middle of 20th century before the first human viral vaccines could be successfully developed. Traditional vaccine development has been successful against pathogens that hardly change their antigens over time. However, the development of new or better vaccines against more complex and/or more rapidly changing pathogens requires more fundamental knowledge - not only of the pathogen but also of the immune system. In the light of the threat from ‘emerging diseases’, most of which are due to infections that cross species barriers from animals to man, it is important to combine the knowledge from medical and veterinary microbiology and immunology
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