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Arthropod-borne flaviviruses are important human pathogens that cause a diverse range of clinical conditions, including severe hemorrhagic syndromes, neurological complications and congenital malformations. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop safe and effective vaccines, a process requiring better understanding of the immunological mechanisms involved during infection. Decades of research suggest a paradoxical role of the immune response against flaviviruses: although the immune response is crucial for the control, clearance and prevention of infection, poor clinical outcomes are commonly associated with virus-specific immunity and immunopathogenesis. This relationship is further complicated by the high homology among viruses and the implication of cross-reactive immune responses in protection and pathogenesis. This Review examines the dual role of the adaptive immune response against flaviviruses, particularly emphasizing the most recent findings regarding cross-reactive T cell and antibody responses, and the effects that these concepts have on vaccine-development endeavors.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Immunol

Publication Date





1189 - 1198


Adaptive Immunity, Animals, Antibodies, Viral, Flavivirus, Flavivirus Infections, Humans