Serological cross-reactivity providing cross-protective immunity between antigenically related viruses is a cornerstone of vaccination. It was the immunological basis for the first human vaccine against smallpox introduced more than 200 years ago, and continues to underpin modern vaccine development as has recently been shown for human papillomavirus vaccines, which confer cross-protection against other oncogenic papillomavirus types not present in the vaccine. Here, we review the feasibility of cross-protective vaccination against an antigenic group of clinically important viruses belonging to the Japanese encephalitis serocomplex in the Flaviviridae family. We will discuss evidence suggesting that 'new generation' flavivirus vaccines may provide effective cross-protective immunity against heterologous Japanese encephalitis serocomplex viruses, and appraise potential risks associated with cross-reactive vaccine immunity. The review will also focus on the structural and mechanistic basis for cross-protective immunity among this group of flaviviruses, which is predominantly mediated by antibodies against a single viral surface protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Review of Vaccines
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • ChimeriVax™ technology
  • JE-VAX®
  • Japanese encephalitis virus
  • West Nile virus
  • adjuvant
  • cross-protection
  • flavivirus
  • neutralizing antibody
  • vaccines


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