The status of RSV vaccines: an update

George Karatsais, Maria Exindari, Georgia Gioula, Maria Christoforidou, Angeliki Melidou
Microbiology Laboratory, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most important causes of viral lower respiratory
tract illness in infants and children globally. It often causes severe and even fatal infections,
particularly in children aged under 6 months, and RSV is considered responsible for onethird
of deaths resulting from acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in the first year of life.
There is no vaccine currently available to protect from RSV infection, especially the severely
affected risk groups. Immunoprophylaxis with the neutralizing monoclonal antibody,
palivizumab, is used to prevent RSV disease in very premature infants and high risk individuals.
Live-attenuated vaccine approaches have been in development for the past decades, but to
achieve immunogenicity, their safety was compromised in the past. In recent years, several
RSV vaccine candidates using various technologies and targeting different populations and
age-groups have emerged. In the present review, the current status of RSV vaccine development
is presented. Sixty RSV vaccine candidates are in development, targeting the whole
range of age-groups, of which 16 vaccine candidates are currently in clinical development,
while most are at a preclinical stage.

Key words: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV, palivizumab, vaccine, LAV

HIV vaccine design: a 30-year old battle

Alexandros Zafiropoulos, George Sourvinos
Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece

The discovery of a protective vaccine against HIV infection still eludes us, 30 years after the initial
isolation and characterization of the human immunodeficiency virus. The first generation of HIV
vaccines started in 1984 and concluded in failure 20 years later. The second generation started in
1990 focusing on a cytotoxic cell-inducing strategy with limited satisfactory results. Currently the
third generation of vaccines is ongoing trials utilizing a combinatorial approach. The current review
focuses on the inherent problems of the anti-HIV vaccine design due to its complex and ultimately
disabling effects on the immune system. It summarizes the efforts mounted until today
and categorizes the scientific instruments that have been used in HIV vaccine discovery.

Key words: HIV, vaccine design, clinical efforts

Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from aromatic and medicinal plants

Stavroula Mamoucha, Anastasia Prombona
Institute of Biosciences and Applications, National Centre for Scientific Research DEMOKRITOS, Ag.
Paraskevi, Attiki

Greece hosts the largest plant biodiversity per unit of area basis among the countries of the
Mediterranean Basin, which is one of the Global Biodiversity Hot Spots. From the 6.600 endemic
species and sub-species of angiosperms, 500-600 are characterized as aromatic and medicinal
plants (A.M.P.). In the recent years, there is an increasing interest for natural pharmaceutical and
cosmetic products, based on A.M.P. constituents. This led to the extended cultivation of medicinal
plants on new farming areas. The goal of this investigation is the utilization of plants’ extracts
with antimicrobial activity as natural preservatives in cosmetics. Plants’ essential oils and standard
bacterial strains were used: three Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus ATCC29213,
Bacillus subtilis ATCC9372, Micrococcus luteus ATCC934) and one Gram-negative bacterium (Escherichia
coli ATCC25922). Bioactivity tests were performed by Disk Diffusion Assay. Essential
oils from Citrus species were the most active and exhibited greater growth inhibition activity
against Gram-positive than Gram-negative bacteria.

Key-words: antimicrobial assays, aromatic and medicinal plants, essential oils


Panagiotis Pampoukis and his book “The Struggle against Tuberculosis” (1927) as an example of
popularized medical knowledge

Constantinos Tsiamis1, Georgia Vrioni1, Kalliopi Theodoridou1, Georgios Ismailos2,
Athanassios Tsakris1

1Department of Microbiology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
2Exprerimental & Research Center – ELPEN Co. Inc.

The study presents the book “The struggle against Tuberculosis” published by the microbiologist
Panagiotis Pampoukis in 1927. Panagiotis Pamboukis belongs to the generation of the pioneers
Greek microbiologists of the early 20th century dealing with the problems of public health. In
1925, Pampoukis will establish the Greek Anti-Tuberculosis Society and his book will be a means
of the popularization of the medical knowledge on tuberculosis. The book degraded the “mythology”
of tuberculosis and the social obsessions, answering to questions concerning the transmission
of the disease, the prophylaxis, the cohabitation of sick and sick people, etc. “The struggle
against Tuberculosis”” did not target or accuse a social group but put the patients and the healthy
ones in charge. Also, Pampoukis points to the problem of latent tuberculosis and its role as a
reservoir of tuberculosis. Ninety years after publishing, the book proves the value of the proper
information of citizens on health issues in the context of health promotion.

Key words: Greece, History of Microbiology, Panayotis Pampoukis, Tuberculosis