NIH awards seven new contracts for vaccine research

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, recently awarded seven research contracts to identify new adjuvants to enhance the protective abilities of vaccines.

“The goal of this research is to identify novel adjuvant candidates that safely and selectively boost vaccine-induced immune responses,” NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci said “Such adjuvants could be used to improve current vaccines, extend the vaccine supply or enhance vaccine efficacy in people with immature or weakened immune systems, such as infants and the elderly.”

There are only three adjuvants in vaccines currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human use. Past NIAID contracts discovered adjuvants that work with the innate or inborn immune system to provide long-term protection from infection by specific pathogens. The new NIAID contracts aim to locate a compound involved in the adaptive immune system.

Recipients of the contracts include the University of California-San Diego; Boston's Childrens Hospital; Vaxine PTY, Ltd.; Corixa Corp.; Duke University; Oregon Health & Science University; and the University of Kansas. 

Total funding for the contracts could reach approximately $70 million over five years.

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