The primary focus of our work is the initiation of an antiviral immune response. While we employ many experimental systems to address this fundamental issue, much of our work revolves around the use of vaccinia virus. Concerns over the negative effects of vaccination have prevented the return of the smallpox immunization program to the general population and underscored the importance of understanding the primary immune response to vaccinia virus. This response is comprised of a complex symphony of immune system components employing a variety of different mechanisms. In this review, we will both highlight the roles of many of these components and touch on the applications of vaccinia virus in the laboratory and the clinic.
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