Immunotherapeutic Strategies against Pathogens


Immunotherapies are disease management strategies that target or manipulate components of the immune system. Infectious diseases pose a significant threat to human health as evidenced by countries continuing to grapple with several emerging and re-emerging diseases, the most recent global health threat being the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. As such, various immunotherapeutic approaches are increasingly being investigated as alternative therapies for infectious diseases, resulting in significant advances towards the uncovering of pathogen–host immunity interactions. Novel and innovative therapeutic strategies are necessary to overcome the challenges typically faced by existing infectious disease prevention and control methods such as lack of adequate efficacy, drug toxicity, and the emergence of drug resistance. As evidenced by recent developments and success of pharmaceuticals such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), immunotherapies already show abundant promise to overcome such limitations while also advancing the frontiers of medicine.

Immunotherapies manipulate components of the immune system to target and eliminate pathogens or diseased host cells to offer protection against disease or alleviate symptoms. Based on their mechanism of action, they are classified as passive immunotherapies which employ constituents produced ex vivo (immune cells or recombinant antibody derivatives) that are administered to patients, and active immunotherapies which trigger components of the host immunological memory using virulence factors that activate effectors

Immunotherapies of viral diseases:

  • Vaccines
  • Antibody-based therapies
  • CAR T-cell immunotherapy
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy
  • Cytokine therapy
  • Emerging technologies against bacterial pathogens

The importance of vaccines and the need for novel therapeutic approaches to combat communicable disease is especially evidenced in recent times by the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the subsequent, unprecedented clinical development of approximately a hundred vaccine candidates, and the repurposing of existing approved therapeutics such as the IL-6 inhibiting mAbs, Siltuximab and Tocilizumab. 

Media Contact:

Sophie Kate
Managing Editor
Microbiology: Current Research