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Virus-Like Particle-Based Vaccines Essay (Article)

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Updated: Aug 1st, 2020


In their study, Gomez et al. discuss the T cell responses in virus-like particle-based vaccines. According to the authors, by adjusting the size of the particles, one does not need to use adjuvants as the means of linking antigens so that the required T-cell response could be received. However, the authors insist that the integration of an adjuvant has a greater effect on B-cells than it does on T-cells.1

Thus, the protection against the development of a tumour is enhanced, and the vaccination outcome turns out to be successful (see Fig. 1). Gomez et al. adopt a quantitative approach to the study. By using the ELISA tool to measure the VLP information, the authors of the study explore the way in which the adjuvant affects T- and B-cells. Thus, the effect of the VLP vaccine as the means of reducing the threat of developing a tumour is measured. The results of the study indicate that nanoparticles have a significant advantage as the tools for addressing oncologic issues in patients.

Absence of Need for Coupling Similar Size Antigens to VLP.
Figure 1. Absence of Need for Coupling Similar Size Antigens to VLP.



Seeing that the authors of the study carried out a unique experiment, the study can be deemed as the original. Indeed, the research question that the authors ask had not been answered before their study was carried out. While the effects that VLP have on the immune system have been explored before,2 The actual connection between the activity of T-cells and B-cells and the VLP has been carried out for the first time.3 Therefore, the study can be viewed as original and unique.

The fact that the authors focus on the use of innovative techniques such as ELISA as the means of processing the retrieved information also increases the originality of the research. Furthermore, the article provides extensive opportunities for the further design of the tools for addressing the development of tumours in patients. Therefore, the research can be deemed as quite original.


The way in which cells respond to VLP has not been studied extensively so far, which makes Gomez et al.’s study unique. The authors provide a detailed overview of the problem, thus, making their research a unique paper. By exploring the opportunities that VLP opens in addressing tumours in patients, the authors of the study create a unique perspective that is bound to contribute extensively to the design of a new healthcare approach.

Furthermore, the manner in which the approach to the problem has been constructed can be considered unique as well. For instance, the fact that the E7 protein from the human papillomavirus was used in the study as the foundation for creating an appropriate model should be viewed as an admittedly unique approach to designing the research about the identification of threats associated with tumours.


Seeing that the study provides opportunities for enhancing the immune system and reducing the threats that VLP pose to patients, its outcomes can be deemed as rather significant. Focusing on an entirely new approach toward addressing the development of tumours, Gomez et al. create the foundation for a new and improved method of improving the immune system and, thus, preventing tumours from developing. Thus, it can be assumed that the results of the study have had a great effect on the target area and are bound to contribute to further studies on the subject matter.

Furthermore, the outcomes of the research contribute to the further improvement of the patient outcome. With the use of the suggested tool as the means of managing tumour, one is likely to improve the quality of healthcare and the timeliness of delivering the necessary services to the target patients. Therefore, the study has impressive significance.

Writing Style

The writing style of the article is quite simple, which increases the readability levels since the issue covered by the authors is quite complex. Gomez et al. avoid using complex sentences, therefore, increasing the readability of the article. As a result, the points that the authors make become even more evident and easy to understand.

Active use of the relevant terminology, however, has its advantage and disadvantages. On the one hand, extensive reliance on the vocabulary related to the use of VLP and the management of tumours is crucial to make the study coherent, concise, and interesting. On the other hand, the excessive use of the vocabulary that is specific to the study of VLP and the relevant issues reduces the readability of the study and creates obstacles for readers to overcome while reading the article. Therefore, the writing style can be considered passable yet needing improvements.



The abstract sheds light on the essential elements of the study, i.e., its purpose, significance, methods, and outcomes. The detailed background of the study, which would have been considered too long in other scenarios, works perfectly in the identified case. Indeed, it introduces the readers to a very complex idea and allows for close scrutiny of the problem.

One might argue that the abstract could use minor improvements. For instance, the authors could have included subheadings into it to point out the essential information (e.g., “background,” “methods,” “results,” etc.). However, the abstract is short enough for the specified issue to be barely noticeable. Thus, the structure of the abstract is rather good.


The introduction provides a clear background, outlining the problem and providing a detailed account of the recent studies on the subject matter. Gomez et al. provide an in-depth overview of the issues that are represented in the article.

For instance, the way in which vaccines are formulated in adjuvants is reviewed closely, with a rather detailed explanation of the process. The role that T- and B-cells play in the specified process is also outlined, which provides the readers with a general idea of why the authors of the study have chosen VLP as the means of addressing the problem. Active use of references and a vast number of studies that have been considered in the introduction should also be viewed as advantages. By focusing on the previous studies, the authors give the readers an idea about the project.

Materials and Methods

The authors use an array of tools for data collection and analysis. The production of VLP and E7 was an essential step to take so that the analysis could commence. Therefore, the use of the strategy that contributed to the development of the said agents was essential. The purchase of the CpGs 1668 was a significant improvement in the overall design of the methodology since it allowed producing the necessary agents faster.

The ELISA tool is used to measure the levels of VLP and e7 antibodies, therefore, contributing to the enhancement of the research accuracy. Overall, the methodology chosen for the paper serves its purpose of helping carry out a quantitative analysis of the effects that the introduction of VLP and E7 as the tools for enhancing the immune system and the activity levels in B- and T-cells was rather efficient. The tools incorporated into the study were useful in retrieving the relevant data and analyzing it.4


The study shows that Qβ and e7 protein are associated not with mixing but with chemical coupling. Moreover, the research outcomes point to the fact that the adjuvant effects, which the introduction of VLP and E7 triggered, were different in T- and B-cells. Particularly, the concomitant draining of adjuvant allowed enhancing the processes in T-cells, therefore, triggering a gradual increase in the levels of cytokine production.

As a result, the foundation for addressing and preventing the development of tumours was built. For B-cells, however, it was the linkage of VLP that triggered the following development of the necessary products that inhibited the development of tumours and, therefore, helped manage the relevant issues. Therefore, the authors should be credited for providing distinct descriptions of the research results and pointing to the differences between the enhancement of T- and B-cells’ functions.5


The discussion of the findings is brief yet exhaustive. Gomez et al. consider the problem from a range of perspectives. To be more specific, the dichotomy of the research results mentioned above was explored in-depth, with the necessary commentaries concerning the opportunities that the research outcomes provide for managing tumours and the associated conditions. The discussion culminates in the suggestion of a new tool for addressing tumour development in patients based on the outcomes of the study. Thus, Gomez et al. create a profound conclusion to the in-depth discussion of the research results.

Furthermore, the limitations of the research are addressed in the discussion. The authors point to the problems in the research design that may have possibly triggered certain biases. Thus, the objectivity of the paper is increased.


All the sources used in the study are peer-reviewed, which means that the information retrieved from them can be considered trustworthy and optimal for using it in research. The fact that Gomez et al. focus extensively on the papers that were published in healthcare journals also indicates that the data received from the identified resources are worth incorporating into the paper. Therefore, the content of the studies considered in the course of the research creates a solid premise ion which further analysis can be built.

However, there are some problems as far as the date of publication is concerned. As a rule, it is preferable that the papers published five years or less form the publication of the study should be included in the review. The authors, however, incorporate the works that were published earlier in their study. While the identified step could be deemed as a deviation from the traditional principle of reviewing the existing literature, it could be argued that the subject matter also requires revisiting the fundamental works that contributed to building the general knowledge. Therefore, the use of the papers that were published five years ago and earlier is justified.

Tables and Figures

The figures included in the research show the patterns of coupling of peptides and VLP. Most of the materials that illustrate the evidence from the study are located in the discussion section. The reason for the identified choice is quite obvious; by providing a graphic proof of the ideas represented in the discussion section, Gomez et al. make their case all the more compelling.

The figures represent the changes in the production of T- and B-cells after the introduction of VLP to the mice. Illustrating the information provided in the research, the pictures retrieved in the course of the chromatography process allowed showcasing the efficacy of using VLP, as well as the ways in which the identified agents manifested themselves in the enhancement of T- and B-cells’ activity. Overall, the figures were used sparingly and reasonably, providing evidence where needed and proving the point successfully.

Ethics and Conflict of Interests

According to the statement made by Gomez et al., the research meets the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) and European Directive 2010/63/EU criteria. Therefore, the rights of animals were observed accordingly, which is an essential characteristic of the study as properly conducted research that needs to be mentioned.6

The fact that animals were used as the test subjects may raise some concerns about the ethics of the study, though. However, the authors of the study claim that the research was conducted in accordance with the welfare legislation reinforced at the local level. Therefore, the study can be considered as properly conducted. By taking into account all possible ethical concerns, addressing the limitations, and exploring the possibilities of VLP as the means of enhancing T- and B-cells’ productivity, the authors of the article, offer a compelling study of the opportunities for addressing the needs of patients with tumours.


  1. Gomez AC, Flace A, Saudan F, Zabel F, Cabral-Miranda G, Turabi AE, et al. Adjusted particle size eliminates the need of linkage of antigen and adjuvants for appropriated T cell responses in virus-like particle-based vaccines. Front. Immunol., 2017.(226): 1-10.
  2. Debbink K, Lindesmith LC, Donaldson EF, Swanstrom J & Baric RS. Chimeric GII.4 Norovirus Virus-like-particle-based vaccines induce broadly blocking immune responses. JVI, 2014 (13): 725-7266.
  3. Thrane S, Janitzek CM, Matondo S, Resende M, Gustavsson T, Jongh, WAD. Bacterial superglue enables easy development of efficient virus-like particle-based vaccines. Jour Nanotech 2016;14(1): 30-45.
  4. Zhao L, Seth A, Wibowo N, Zhao C, Mitter N, Yu C, et al. Nanoparticle vaccines. Vaccine 2016;32(3): 327-33.
  5. Chang LJ, Dowd KA, Mendoza FH, Saunders JG, Sitar S, Plummer SH, et al. Safety and tolerability of chikungunya virus-like particle vaccine in healthy adults: a phase 1 dose-escalation trial. Lancet 2014;384(9959): 2046-2052.
  6. Martins KAO, Steffens JT, Tongeren SAV, Wells JB, Bergeron AA, Dickson SP, et al. Toll-like receptor agonist augments virus-like particle-mediated protection from ebola virus with transient immune activation. PLoS One 2014;9(2): e89735.
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