ELISPOT in Vaccine Development

ELISPOT and vaccine developmentELISPOT assay used in vaccine development

Developing vaccines for the prevention of human infection by different viruses, bacteria or parasites is an urgent task, and relies on a variety of measurements to monitor vaccine efficacy. Primary measurements may be protective antibody titers to vaccine antigens or the determination of antibody function such as anti-viral neutralizing activity. In addition, measurement of T cell function has been shown to be useful in assessing vaccine efficacy. The ELISPOT assay is an ideal tool to determine the impact of vaccines on immune mediators such as interleukins, interferons, pro-inflammatory mediators and memory B cell responses. Immune responses against pathogens can be monitored over time in follow-up to estimate the induction of a substantial memory response in vaccine recipients.

One major advantage of the T cell ELISPOT assay is the ability to screen in a relatively short period a wide array of peptide antigens, allowing the detection of T cell responses to an entire pathogen proteome. The assay is capable of distinguishing T cell responses to any epitope of 11 amino acids or even less. Furthermore, responses can be monitored through time in a follow-up, to estimate the induction of a substantial memory response in the vaccine recipients.

A mayor advantage of the B cell ELISPOT assay is its ability to activate ex vivo antigen-specific memory B cells, whereafter they can be measured.

So far, ELISPOT assays have helped us remarkably in our understanding of immune responses against different pathogens in the past and still forms a routine basis for many additional investigations and methods, such as flow cytometric analysis or antigen-specific tetramer assays. In the end, the T cell ELISPOT assay as well as the B cell ELISPOT assay can help us to generate information that can eventually lead to the discovery of more effective vaccines providing protective immunity against different infectious diseases, such as COVID-191,2,3,4,5, schistosomiasis6, HIV/AIDS7, hepatitis8,9, latent tuberculosis10, influenza11,12, dengue fever13,14 and Ebola15. Or shed a light on why kidney transplant patients have a poor humoral and cellular response to vaccination16.

Back to ELISPOT assay in other research areas

Examples of studies using our ELISPOT assay:

Click on the authors for the abstract of the below mentioned acticles or find them in our Reference Database.


  1. Henriquez S et al. (2022) Anti-CD38 therapy impairs SARS-CoV-2 vaccine response against alpha and delta variants in patients with multiple myeloma. Blood 139: 942-946
  2. Mooij P et al. (2022) Poxvirus MVA Expressing SARS-CoV-2 S Protein Induces Robust Immunity and Protects Rhesus Macaques From SARS-CoV-2. Front Immunol 13: 845887
  3. Nishikawa T et al. (2022) Immune response induced in rodents by anti-CoVid19 plasmid DNA vaccine via pyro-drive jet injector inoculation. Immunol Med 45(4): 251-264
  4. Tedjakusuma SN et al. (2024) A Next-Generation Adenoviral Vaccine Elicits Mucosal and Systemic Immunogenicity and Reduces Viral Shedding after SARS-CoV-2 Challenge in Nonhuman Primates. Vaccines 12(2): 132
  5. He T et al. (2023) Decreased antibody response to influenza vaccine with an enhanced antibody response to subsequent SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Immun Inflamm Dis 11(1): e759
  6. Karmakar S et al. (2014) Use of an Sm-p80-based therapeutic vaccine to kill established adult schistosome parasites in chronically infected baboons. J Infect Dis 209(12): 1929-1940
  7. Watanbe S et al. (2020) Protective Immune Responses Elicited by Deglycosylated Live-Attenuated Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Vaccine Are Associated with IL-15 Effector Functions. J Immunol 205: 1331-1344
  8. Jing M et al. (2016) Development of a more efficient hepatitis B virus vaccine by targeting hepatitis B virus preS to dendritic cells. Vaccine 34(4): 516-522
  9. Rollier CS et al. (2016) T- and B-cell responses to multivalent prime-boost DNA and viral vectored vaccine combinations against hepatitis C virus in non-human primates. Gene Ther 23(10): 753-759
  10. Weng S et al. (2022) B21 DNA vaccine expressing ag85b, rv2029c, and rv1738 confers a robust therapeutic effect against latent infection. Front Immunol 13: 1025931
  11. Soema PC et al. (2018) Whole-Inactivated Influenza Virus Is a Potent Adjuvant for Influenza Peptides Containing CD8 T Cell Epitopes. Front Immunol 9: 525
  12. Nie J et al. (2024) Self-adjuvant multiepitope nanovaccine based on ferritin induced long-lasting and effective mucosal immunity against H3N2 and H1N1 viruses in mice. Int J Biol Macromol 259(Pt 1): 129259
  13. Sun P et al. (2021) T cell and memory B cell responses in tetravalent DNA, tetravalent inactivated and tetravalent live-attenuated prime-boost dengue vaccines in rhesus macaques. Vaccine 39(51): 7510-7520
  14. Williams M et al. (2019) Enhanced immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a tetravalent dengue DNA vaccine using electroporation and intradermal delivery. Vaccine 37: 4444-4453
  15. Xie L et al. (2019) Intranasal immunization with recombinant Vaccinia virus Tiantan harboring Zaire Ebola virus gp elicited systemic and mucosal neutralizing antibody in mice. Vaccine 37: 3335-3342
  16. Malahe SRK et al. (2023) The role of interleukin-21 in COVID-19 vaccine-induced B cell-mediated immune responses in patients with kidney disease and kidney transplant recipients. Am J Transplant 23(9): 1411-1424