Antibacterial and antifungal vaccines based on synthetic oligosaccharides
General advances in the glycosciences have increased our knowledge of the structure and function of carbohydrates on the surface of pathogenic bacteria. Synthetic oligosaccharides are invaluable to glycoimmunology for the definition of the epitopes associated with recognition and protection. Almost ten years ago Quimi-Hib, the first vaccine produced based on a synthetic oligosaccharide, was licensed in Cuba for use in infants. Since then, more than 34 million doses were produced and used in several countries, proving that the synthetic approach is economically feasible. Several other synthetic oligosaccharides are in the pipeline for diseases which currently do or do not have efficient vaccines available. The present review will outline the most salient of those examples.