Anthrax, toxins and vaccines: A 125-year journey targeting Bacillus anthracis

Jean Nicolas Tournier, Robert G. Ulrich, Anne Quesnel-Hellmann, Mansour Mohamadzadeh, Bradley G. Stiles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax, a disease that plagues both humans and various animal species. Effective vaccines are available, but those approved for human use are crude culture supernatants that require multiple injections and a yearly boost. Many experts agree that it is now time for the next generation of human vaccines against anthrax. Accordingly, this review will succinctly focus upon: pathogenesis of B. anthracis, with particular emphasis upon the immune system; the pertinent biophysical nature of protective antigen, which includes how the protein toxin component affords protection as a vaccine target; alternative methods for improving protective antigen as an immunogen; and additional B. anthracis antigens that might further sustain protective titers in humans. In addition to a better understanding of the disease process elicited by B. anthracis, which will logically lead to better vaccines (and therapeutics), there also needs to be the same level of open-mindedness applied to the politics of anthrax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthrax
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • PA
  • Pathogenesis
  • Protective antigen
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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