Many traditional vaccines have proven to be incapable of controlling newly emerging infectious diseases. They have also achieved limited success in the fight against a variety of human cancers. Thus, innovative vaccine strategies are highly needed to overcome the global burden of these diseases. Advances in molecular biology and reverse genetics have completely restructured the concept of vaccinology, leading to the emergence of state-of-the-art technologies for vaccine design, development and delivery. Among these modern vaccine technologies are the recombinant viral vectored vaccines, which are known for their incredible specificity in antigen delivery as well as the induction of robust immune responses in the vaccinated hosts. Although a number of viruses have been used as vaccine vectors, genetically engineered Newcastle disease virus (NDV) possesses some useful attributes that make it a preferable candidate for vectoring vaccine antigens. Here, we review the molecular biology of NDV and discuss the reverse genetics approaches used to engineer the virus into an efficient vaccine vector. We then discuss the prospects of the engineered virus as an efficient vehicle of vaccines against cancer and several infectious diseases of man and animals.
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