Although the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines saved countless lives, lessons taught to us by the COVID-19 pandemic with varied and not optimal protection by these vaccines have urged the scientific community to look for better strategies to maximize the vaccine's efficacy. Scientists have learned that the best vaccines are the ones that mimic what an actual infection looks like without making you sick. Scientists have developed a new vaccine strategy involving formulation changes, an initial escalating dose, and a longer wait for booster immunization resulting in more-effective antibody production against HIV.
Evidence suggests that the changes in formulation, escalating initial dose, a longer wait for booster immunization, etc. trigger an effective immune response by properly training B-cells to generate antibodies that bind and neutralize the pathogen in question. It seems to provide an optimal condition for B-Cells to start evolving through a process of random mutation and selection for cells that produce antibodies with better affinity for that antigen. Although this strategy was tried in HIV, scientists believe this novel proof of concept might be useful in designing vaccines against difficult targets, including the development of better vaccines against COVID-19 and a universal flu vaccine that provides protection against many different strains.