Vaccines are considered one of the most important bioproducts in medicine. Since the development of the smallpox vaccine in 1796, several types of vaccines for many diseases have been created. However, some vaccines have shown limitations as high cost and low immune responses. In that regard, bacteriophages have been proposed as an attractive alternative for the development of more cost-effective vaccines. Phage-displayed vaccines consists in the expression of antigens on the phage surface. This approach takes advantage of inherent properties of these particles such as their adjuvant capacity, economic production and high stability, among others. To date, three types of phage-based vaccines have been developed: phage-displayed, phage DNA and hybrid phage-DNA vaccines. Typically, phage display technology has been used for the identification of new and protective epitopes, mimotopes and antigens. In this context, phage particles represent a versatile, effective and promising alternative for the development of more effective vaccine delivery systems which should be highly exploited in the future. This review describes current advances in the development of bacteriophage-based vaccines, with special attention to vaccine delivery strategies. Moreover, the immunological aspects of phage-based vaccines, as well as the applications of phage display for vaccine development, are explored. Finally, important challenges and the future of phage-bases vaccines are discussed.
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