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Create Effective Single Dose Vaccines That Can Be Used Soon After Birth

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Background

Much new knowledge has accumulated about links between the “innate”, evolutionarily very old immune system, based largely on the recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, and the “adaptive” immune system of vertebrate species.  A recent revolution in understanding how to trigger the innate immune response specifically and how that may determine the course of an acquired immune response prompts the conclusion that research on adjuvants could now become more scientific and less empiric.  Additionally, new insight into the biology of memory cells sets the stage for a more designed approach to stimulating long-lasting immunity.

Roadblock

We do not know how to deliver the antigen in order to elicit a long lasting protective response after a single dose.  In particular, we do not know the rules whereby adjuvants, which strengthen the immune response, also guide it in particular directions, such as formation of high affinity antibodies, Th1 helper T lymphocytes and/or CD8+ T lymphocytes, and assure the production of long term immunologic memory.

Challenge

To develop and clinically evaluate new adjuvants suitable for human use which could strengthen immune responses and guide them down chosen pathways relevant to the disease concerned in order to create vaccines that could produce specific and robust immunity after a single dose of vaccine and capable of effectively stimulating even the immune system of newborns.

Potential Benefits

  • Increased effectiveness of immunization
  • Decreased cost of immunization systems
  • Decreased early childhood mortality and morbidity

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.