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Immune System
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August 2021

NIH Launches Study of Extra COVID-19 Vaccine Dose in People with Autoimmune Disease

August 27, 2021

The National Institutes of Health has begun a clinical trial to assess the antibody response to an extra dose of an authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine in people with autoimmune disease who did not respond to an original COVID-19 vaccine regimen. The trial also will investigate whether pausing immunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune disease improves the antibody response to an extra dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in this population.

Image of cell infected with SARS-CoV-2

May 2021

Gene Therapy Restores Immune Function in Children with Rare Immunodeficiency

May 11, 2021

An investigational gene therapy can safely restore the immune systems of infants and children who have a rare, life-threatening inherited immunodeficiency disorder, according to research supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.

A DNA double helix rests on a print-out illustration of the DNA letters A, T, C and G.

NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2021

May 05, 2021

On World Asthma Day, the National Institutes of Health reaffirms its commitment to research to improve the lives of people with asthma. More than 25 million people in the United States have asthma, including 5.1 million children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This chronic lung disease can reduce quality of life, contributes to considerable emotional and financial stress, and is a major contributing factor to missed time from school and work.

April 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Responses to be Studied in People with Immune Deficits

April 23, 2021

A study assessing how people with immune system deficiencies or dysregulations respond to COVID-19 vaccination has begun enrolling participants at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The single-site study is led by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and aims to enroll 500 people, 400 with primary or secondary immune system disorders and 100 without such conditions. 

Zebra-print ribbon, a symbol for awareness of primary immunodeficiencies and other rare diseases.

NIH Establishes New Childhood Asthma Clinical Research Network

April 23, 2021

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $10 million in first-year funding to establish a clinical research network called Childhood Asthma in Urban Settings (CAUSE). This nationwide network will conduct observational studies and clinical trials to improve understanding of asthma and develop treatment and prevention approaches tailored to children of low-income families living in urban communities. NIAID intends to provide approximately $70 million over seven years to support the CAUSE network.

March 2021

NIH Study of Early Predictors, Mechanisms of Food Allergy and Eczema has Begun

March 19, 2021

A study to identify prenatal and early childhood markers of high risk for food allergy and atopic dermatitis, or eczema, as well as biological pathways that lead to these conditions, has begun. The observational study of children from birth to age 3 years will examine the origins of allergic disease by integrating interdisciplinary analyses of data from more than 260 biological and environmental samples and survey responses from each of 2,500 families.

A baby's foot and leg

August 2020

NIH-Supported Scientists Demonstrate How Genetic Variations Cause Eczema

August 14, 2020

New NIH-supported research shows how two common variations in the KIF3A gene cause an impaired skin barrier that allows increased water loss from the skin.

Limb of child with eczema

May 2020

NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2020

May 05, 2020

On World Asthma Day, the NIH raises awareness about this disease, the people affected, and the biomedical research that improves prevention and treatment. 

January 2020

New Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Trial Compares Stem Cell Transplantation to Best Available Drugs

January 07, 2020

A clinical trial has begun testing an experimental stem cell treatment against the best available biologic therapies for severe forms of relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). The trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, will compare the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the two therapeutic approaches. 

Human T cell

September 2019

New NIH Program Provides Comprehensive Treatment for Inherited Blood and Immune Diseases

September 26, 2019

People with inherited diseases of the blood and immune system can now receive treatment at the NIH Clinical Center through a new, streamlined program.

Aerial view of the NIH Clinical Center

Disrupting the Gut Microbiome May Affect Some Immune Responses to Flu Vaccination

September 06, 2019

The normal human gut microbiome is a flourishing community of microorganisms, some of which can affect the human immune system. In a new paper published this week in Cell, researchers found that oral antibiotics, which can kill gut microorganisms, can alter the human immune response to seasonal influenza vaccination. The work was led by scientists at Stanford University and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. 

A transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles.

August 2019

Memory T Cells Shelter in Bone Marrow, Boosting Immunity in Mice with Restricted Diets

August 22, 2019

Even when taking in fewer calories and nutrients, humans and other mammals usually remain protected against infectious diseases they have already encountered. This may be because memory T cells, which are located throughout the body and required to maintain immune responses to infectious agents, retreat to the bone marrow during dietary restriction according to scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Enterovirus Antibodies Detected in Acute Flaccid Myelitis Patients

August 13, 2019

A new study analyzing samples from patients with and without acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) provides additional evidence for an association between the rare but often serious condition that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, and infection with non-polio enteroviruses. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, funded the research, which was conducted by investigators at Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity and investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Enterovirus D68

NIH-Funded Study Will Test Seasonal Flu Vaccines With Two Experimental Adjuvants

August 08, 2019

An early-stage clinical trial is evaluating two licensed seasonal influenza vaccines, administered with or without novel adjuvants, for their safety and ability to generate an immune response. Adjuvants are compounds added to vaccines to induce stronger and longer-lasting immune responses. The Phase 1 study is enrolling healthy adult volunteers at eight sites across the United States. The trial is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

A person receives a flu shot

Scientists Discover Immune Cell Subtype in Mice That Drives Allergic Reactions

August 01, 2019

Allergies can be life-threatening when they cause anaphylaxis, an extreme reaction with constriction of the airways and a sudden drop in blood pressure. Scientists have identified a subtype of immune cell that drives the production of antibodies associated with anaphylaxis  and other allergic reactions. The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and reveals a potential target for new therapies to prevent severe allergic reactions.

June 2019

Immune Cells Play Unexpected Role in Early Tuberculosis Infection

June 05, 2019

A class of immune cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) mediates the body’s initial defense against tuberculosis (TB), according to a report published online today in Nature. Boosting this response may provide a new approach to developing treatments and vaccines against TB, which causes more deaths worldwide than any other single infectious disease. The research was supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Innate lymphoid cells (green) near and within a small area of inflammation in a non-human primate infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB

April 2019

Scratching the Skin Primes the Gut for Allergic Reactions to Food, Mouse Study Suggests

April 23, 2019

Scratching the skin triggers a series of immune responses culminating in an increased number of activated mast cells—immune cells involved in allergic reactions—in the small intestine, according to research conducted in mice. This newly identified skin-gut communication helps illuminate the relationship between food allergy and atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema), a disease characterized by dry, itchy skin.

In Rare Cases, Immune System Fails Despite HIV Suppression

April 18, 2019

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is usually very effective at suppressing HIV in the body, allowing a person’s immune system to recover by preventing the virus from destroying CD4+ T cells. Scientists have now identified a rare, paradoxical response to ART known as extreme immune decline, or EXID.

Gene Therapy Restores Immunity in Infants with Rare Immunodeficiency Disease

April 17, 2019

A small clinical trial has shown that gene therapy can safely correct the immune systems of infants newly diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening inherited disorder in which infection-fighting immune cells do not develop or function normally. Eight infants with the disorder, called X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID), received an experimental gene therapy co-developed by National Institutes of Health scientists. They experienced substantial improvements in immune system function and were growing normally up to two years after treatment.

A baby's foot and leg

FDA-Approved Drug Effectively Treats Rare Chronic Immune Disorders

April 03, 2019

A drug approved to treat a severe form of asthma dramatically improved the health of people with rare chronic immune disorders called hypereosinophilic syndromes (HES) in whom other treatments were ineffective or intolerable. This finding comes from a small clinical trial led by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted through a partnership with the global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The results were published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine

Activated eosinophils

February 2019

Scientists Identify Unique Subtype of Eczema Linked to Food Allergy

February 20, 2019

Atopic dermatitis, a common inflammatory skin condition also known as allergic eczema, affects nearly 20 percent of children, 30 percent of whom develop food allergies. Scientists have now found that children with both atopic dermatitis and food allergy have structural and molecular differences in the top layers of healthy-looking skin near the eczema lesions, whereas children with atopic dermatitis alone do not.

A researcher demonstrates the minimally invasive collection of skin samples using small, clear tape strips.

September 2018

NIAID and Children’s National Partner to Advance Pediatric Clinical Research

September 17, 2018

NIAID and the Children’s National Health System partner to advance pediatric clinical research.

August 2018

HIV/AIDS Research Yields Dividends Across Medical Fields

August 28, 2018

NIAID investment in HIV/AIDS research has led to numerous advances outside the HIV field after giving scientists critical insights into the immune system.

NIAID Vaccine Research Center scientist uses pipetting tool under fume hood in lab.

During HIV Infection, Antibody Can Block B Cells from Fighting Pathogens

August 13, 2018

For the first time, scientists have shown that in certain people living with HIV, a type of antibody called immunoglobulin G3 (IgG3) stops the immune system’s B cells from doing their normal job of fighting pathogens. This phenomenon appears to be one way the body tries to reduce the potentially damaging effects of immune-system hyperactivity caused by the presence of HIV, according to the investigators, but in so doing, it also impairs normal immune function. 

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a B cell from a human donor

July 2018

Fauci—HIV Remission Free of Antiretroviral Therapy Is a Feasible Goal

July 25, 2018

Long-lasting control of HIV infection without antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a feasible goal that deserves vigorous pursuit, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., will assert during a lecture on Wednesday, July 25 at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam. Dr. Fauci directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. His lecture is titled, “Durable Control of HIV Infection in the Absence of Antiretroviral Therapy: Opportunities and Challenges.”

NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.