The omics strategy: the use of systems vaccinology to characterize immune responses to childhood immunization.
IntroductionVaccines have had a transformative impact on child health. Despite this impact, the immunological processes involved in protective responses are not entirely understood and vaccine development has been largely empirical. Recent technological advances offer the opportunity to reveal the immunology underlying vaccine response at an unprecedented resolution. These data could revolutionize the way vaccines are developed and tested and further augment their role in securing the health of children around the world.Areas coveredSystems level information and tools are now being deployed by vaccinologists at all stages of the vaccine development pathway; however, this review will specifically describe some of the key findings that have be gleaned from multi-omics datasets collected in the context of childhood immunization.Expert opinionDespite the success of vaccines, there remains hard-to-target pathogens, refractory to current vaccination strategies. Moreover, zoonotic diseases with pandemic potential are a threat to global health, as recently illustrated by COVID-19. Systems vaccinology holds a great deal of promise in revealing a greater understanding of vaccine responses and consequently modernizing vaccinology. However, there is a need for future studies - particularly in vulnerable populations that are targets for vaccination programmes - if this potential is to be fulfilled.