Despite the progress that has been made in understanding the immune response to viral infections, we still do not have effective vaccines against chronic viruses like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Earlier efforts have focused on developing T cell based vaccines but results from clinical trials for an HIV T-cell based vaccine were disappointing. This shifted the attention to antibodies or B cell based vaccines. On the other hand, T cell based vaccines were shown to be effective against HCV infection in a chimpanzee model and phase 2 clinical trials are underway. Recent data from different models of viral infections suggest that there is extensive cross-regulation between innate immunity and B cells (ex. via type I IFNs) and between T cells and B cells (via follicular helper T cells, regulatory T and B cells). It has also become apparent that results in mice and animal models are not reflective of “real-life” infections and vaccinations in the human population. Altogether, the current state of knowledge requires a step back to examine recent findings about the role of B versus T cells in the context of real-life human infections and vaccination. The gaol of this one day symposium is to bring together experts from Canada and the world to discuss these issues focusing on human viral infections like Flu, Ebola, HCV, HIV and hepatitis B virus (HBV). I look forward to your presence and active participation in this symposium.
Naglaa Shoukry, B.Pharm, Ph.D.