Third participant enrolled in VRC 207 receives a dose of the investigational NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine

A clinical trial participant receives a dose of an investigational Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center.


A clinical trial participant receives a dose of an investigational Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center.

Credit: NIAID

Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce immune responses that protect against infection. Vaccines provide a safe, cost-effective and efficient means of preventing illness, disability and death from infectious diseases.

Why Is Vaccine Research a Priority for NIAID?

Vaccines have saved millions of lives worldwide and dramatically reduced the prevalence of many life-threatening infectious diseases. Yet there remains a need for new and improved vaccines against existing infectious diseases, as well as a need for rapid development of experimental vaccines to address emerging infectious diseases. NIAID supports and conducts research to identify new vaccine candidates to prevent a variety of infectious diseases, including those for which no vaccines currently exist. NIAID-supported research also aims to improve the safety and efficacy of existing vaccines.

How Is NIAID Addressing This Important Area of Study?

NIAID conducts and supports numerous stages of the vaccine development process, ranging from basic immunology research to clinical testing of candidate vaccines. Basic research aims to understand the complex interactions between pathogens and their human hosts and generate the knowledge essential for developing safe and effective vaccines. Preclinical research helps advance promising vaccine candidates into human testing. Clinical trials evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of investigational vaccines in people.

COVID-19 Vaccine Research

NIAID is pursuing multiple strategies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Building on past research on other coronaviruses, NIAID is using previously developed vaccine platforms to rapidly assess the potential of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine research.

Volunteer for Clinical Studies

Adults who are interested in joining a vaccine clinical study can visit to find more information and register to volunteer.

Related Public Health and Government Information

For general health information about vaccines, visit and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccines & Immunizations site. Vaccines are held to very high safety standards; for more information, see the Vaccine Safety page on 

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