NIAID contracts awarded to help boost vaccines' effectiveness

BETHESDA, Md. — The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded six research contracts on Oct. 9 to discover novel adjuvants, substances that can be added to vaccines to boost their effectiveness.

"Adjuvants can be used not only to enhance the immune response to a vaccine and thereby offer better protection but also to extend the vaccine supply if needed, enabling more people to be vaccinated with fewer doses,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID.

Currently, the only vaccine adjuvant approved for use in the United States is an aluminum mixture known as alum.

"The goal of these awards is not only to identify new adjuvant candidates but also to describe how these candidates work," said Helen Quill, chief of NIAID's basic immunology research branch. "We would hope that these adjuvant candidates will become part of a robust pipeline leading to the development of many different vaccines."

NIAID has awarded a total of approximately $60 million over five years to the University of Michigan, Moores Cancer Center at the University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, the University of Kansas, the University of Washington School of Medicine, Corixa Corp. in Hamilton, Mont., and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.