The field of pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics provides a promising science base for vaccine research and development. A broad range of phenotype/genotype data combined with high-throughput genetic sequencing and bioinformatics are increasingly being integrated into this emerging field of vaccinomics. This paper discusses the hypothesis of the ‘immune response gene network’ and genetic (and bioinformatic) strategies to study associations between immune response gene polymorphisms and variations in humoral and cellular immune responses to prophylactic viral vaccines, such as measles–mumps–rubella, influenza, HIV, hepatitis B and smallpox. Immunogenetic studies reveal promising new vaccine targets by providing a better understanding of the mechanisms by which gene polymorphisms may influence innate and adaptive immune responses to vaccines, including vaccine failure and vaccine-associated adverse events. Additional benefits from vaccinomic studies include the development of personalized vaccines, the development of novel vaccines and the development of novel vaccine adjuvants.
As one clinician noted, ‘…vaccines licensed in the USA are safe and effective. However, not every vaccine is equally safe or equally effective in every person’ .