Progress on plague vaccine development

Jason A. Rosenzweig, Olufisayo Jejelowo, Jian Sha, Tatiana E. Erova, Sheri M. Brackman, Michelle L. Kirtley, Cristina J. Van Lier, Ashok K. Chopra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Yersinia pestis (YP), the gram-negative plague bacterium, has shaped human history unlike any other pathogen known to mankind. YP (transmitted by the bite of an infected flea) diverged only recently from the related enteric pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis but causes radically different diseases. Three forms of plague exist in humans: bubonic (swollen lymph nodes or bubos), septicemic (spread of YP through the lymphatics or bloodstream from the bubos to other organs), and contagious, pneumonic plague which can be communicated via YP-charged respiratory droplets resulting in person-person transmission and rapid death if left untreated (50-90% mortality). Despite the potential threat of weaponized YP being employed in bioterrorism and YP infections remaining prevalent in endemic regions of the world where rodent populations are high (including the four corner regions of the USA), an efficacious vaccine that confers immunoprotection has yet to be developed. This review article will describe the current vaccine candidates being evaluated in various model systems and provide an overall summary on the progress of this important endeavor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-286
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Bubonic
  • Plague
  • Pneumonic plague
  • Septicemic
  • Vaccine
  • Yersinia pestis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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