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​Vaccine Adjuvants

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A scientist prepares a vaccine in the lab
A scientist prepares a vaccine in the lab. Credit: National Cancer Institute

NIAID Role in Vaccine Adjuvant Research

Adjuvant discovery and development are critical to NIAID efforts to develop new and improved vaccines against infectious diseases.

In November 2010, NIAID convened a blue ribbon panel to discuss the Institute’s research agenda for the discovery, development, and clinical evaluation of vaccine adjuvants. With the panel’s input, the Institute developed the NIAID Strategic Plan for Research on Vaccine Adjuvants. Today, NIAID-funded scientists continue to make progress in three areas of research: basic immunology and early-stage adjuvant discovery, later-stage adjuvant development and preclinical testing, and evaluation in clinical studies.

Short-term goals of the plan include the following:

  • Understanding how new and existing adjuvants and combinations of adjuvants help enhance the protection conferred by vaccines
  • Advancing promising adjuvant candidates through optimization and preclinical testing stages
  • Determining the effects of vaccine formulation on the safety and effectiveness of adjuvanted vaccines

Long-term goals include the following:

  • Understanding the immunological functions that influence the activities of different types of adjuvants
  • Improving and standardizing animal models for evaluating adjuvant safety and efficacy
  • Determining optimal routes of vaccine administration to elicit protection against different types of pathogens
  • Correlating immune responses with individual characteristics such as age, ethnicity, gender, underlying chronic illness, and genetics

Last Updated May 13, 2014

Last Reviewed May 13, 2014