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Adjuvants are substances added to vaccines that enhance the ability of antigens to stimulate the body's immune response. Adjuvants provide a key benefit to vaccine development by:
- Improving immune response
- Broadening vaccine protection
- Reducing the amount of antigen needed
IDRI is a world leader in adjuvant development and has developed multiple adjuvant formulations. In addition to vaccines that we are developing for tuberculosis, leprosy and leishmaniasis, we are also working with collaborators to provide adjuvants for vaccines they are developing in various disease areas, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and pandemic flu.
While vaccines have proven to be effective in controlling and eliminating infectious diseases, few new effective vaccines have been recently developed. Many diseases either have no vaccines or vaccines that are not effective. If we could protect the global population from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and the malaria through vaccination, we could dramatically advance global health and reduce the health care costs that burden many governments.
In the past, many vaccines were developed using weakened or dead pathogens. However, most vaccines developed today – called subunit vaccines – include only specific parts of the pathogen that are most recognizable to the human immune system rather than the entire virus or bacteria. These vaccines, which are the type IDRI scientists are focusing on, have two main components:
Adjuvants are an important part of an outbreak response, as they can dramatically increase vaccine availability. IDRI’s adjuvants can be used to increase the number of available vaccine doses through ‘dose sparing,’ reducing the amount of vaccine antigen needed per individual dose. This allows more vaccine doses to be available, stretching vaccine manufacturing capacity to help protect more people.
- Antigens stimulate antibodies in the immune system to combat infectious diseases.
- Adjuvants are substances added to vaccines that enhance the ability of antigens to stimulate the body’s immune response. The world “adjuvant” comes from the Latin word adiuvare, meaning “to help.” Adjuvants, which have been used safely in vaccines for decades, provide several benefits including: improving immune response; broadening vaccine protection; and reducing the amount of antigen needed.
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Anna Marie Beckmann