Plague vaccines: new developments in an ongoing search

Jason A. Rosenzweig, Emily K. Hendrix, Ashok K. Chopra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Abstract: As the reality of pandemic threats challenges humanity, exemplified during the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 infections, the development of vaccines targeting these etiological agents of disease has become increasingly critical. Of paramount concern are novel and reemerging pathogens that could trigger such events, including the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Y. pestis is responsible for more human deaths than any other known pathogen and exists globally in endemic regions of the world, including the four corners region and Northern California in the USA. Recent cases have been scattered throughout the world, including China and the USA, with serious outbreaks in Madagascar during 2008, 2013–2014, and, most recently, 2017–2018. This review will focus on recent advances in plague vaccine development, a seemingly necessary endeavor, as there is no Food and Drug Administration–licensed vaccine available for human distribution in western nations, and that antibiotic-resistant strains are recovered clinically or intentionally developed. Progress and recent development involving subunit, live-attenuated, and nucleic acid–based plague vaccine candidates will be discussed in this review. Key points: • Plague vaccine development remains elusive yet critical. • DNA, animal, and live-attenuated vaccine candidates gain traction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4931-4941
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • DNA vaccines
  • Humoral
  • Live attenuated
  • Protection
  • Protein subunit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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