west nile virus
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), avian influenza viruses represent an important pandemic threat. Since 1997, several avian influenza sub-types have been introduced from domestic or wild avian reservoirs. These outbreaks have been variable in both duration and severity; H5N1 viruses, which have been introduced repeatedly since 1997, have resulted in over 668 confirmed human cases, including 393 deaths, while H7N9 has caused over 400 human infections, with 175 deaths. Although these viruses do not currently transmit efficiently between people (a prerequisite for an influenza pandemic), laboratory research has shown that they may acquire this ability through mutation.
Because of the unpredictability of pandemic flu, efforts are being made not only to create vaccines but to reduce the amount of vaccine needed per person. The manufacture of safe and effective adjuvants represents an important component of that strategy.
IDRI is engaged in partnership with several collaborators to develop pandemic influenza vaccines. In 2015, we received $4 million in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to develop an adjuvant manufacturing hub with both preclinical and clinical expertise to facilitate pandemic influenza preparedness in developing countries.
The primary goal of the BARDA-funded project is for IDRI to partner with developing country vaccine manufacturers (DCVMs) to develop adjuvanted influenza vaccine capabilities. IDRI will supply sufficient oil-in-water emulsion adjuvant and partner with up to two DCVMs to enhance their pandemic influenza vaccine programs. These adjuvants will be evaluated with antigen through preclinical and clinical studies. As part of this project, IDRI will establish the capacity to manufacture 50 million doses of adjuvant within a three-month timeframe, to provide adjuvants to eligible DCVMs supported through the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines.