Safety-tested modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) has been established as a potent vector system for the development of candidate recombinant vaccines. The versatility of the vector system was recently demonstrated by the rapid production of experimental MVA vaccines for immunization against severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus. Promising results were also obtained in the delivery of Epstein-Barr virus or human cytomegalovirus antigens and from the clinical testing of MVA vectors for vaccination against immunodeficiency virus, papilloma virus, Plasmodium falciparum or melanoma. Moreover, MVA is considered to be a prime candidate vaccine for safer protection against orthopoxvirus infections. Thus, vector development to challenge dilemmas in vaccinology or immunization against poxvirus biothreat seems possible, yet the right choice should be made for a most beneficial use.