The discovery of new vaccines for diarrhea, HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and TB has historically relied on a long and costly process of trial and error, and has an uneven record of success. In addition, many of these infections are chronic or persistent and may require radically different means of generating protective immunity compared to traditional vaccines.
In current approaches, antigens are combined with adjuvants and formulated to stimulate the desired immune response. These candidates must undergo animal studies and large human efficacy trials in target populations to assess their potential. The ability to identify the best combination of antigen, adjuvant, and formulation early in the process, before more expensive and time-consuming clinical studies, is critical for progress.
The increased application of genomics, proteomics, biophysical analysis, sophisticated cell-based assays, and bioinformatics tools could provide new opportunities for the investigation of candidate vaccines. In addition, improved paradigms for rational vaccine design are needed. Multidisciplinary approaches may facilitate the identification of safe and broadly efficacious new vaccines.
What We Are Looking For:
The goal of this topic is to generate novel untried vaccine leads for diarrhea, HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and TB. We seek proposals that are "off the beaten track," daring in premise, and clearly different from the approaches currently being developed or employed.
Note: Generic methods or platforms for stimulating mucosal immunity should be submitted under "Create New Ways to Induce Mucosal Immunity."
A few of the many options to be considered include:
- Novel vaccine targets and constructs inspired by new observations or understanding about the nature of the targeted organism or the human response to that organism;
- Approaches to present antigens that take into consideration their immunologically relevant conformations;
- Stimulation of immunity to prevent pathogen invasion, instead of merely limiting pathogen replication;
- Methods to present antigens in such way that is not overcome by natural pathogen infection;
- Novel adjuvants that enhance both the strength and specificity of the immune response;
- Novel vaccine formulations that deliver adjuvants and antigens to targeted tissues and sub-cellular locations to increase vaccine potency, while reducing unwanted side effects.
For this topic, we will not consider funding for:
- Proposals that do not address diarrhea, HIV, malaria, pneumonia, or TB;
- Vaccine candidates currently under development or in clinical investigation;
- Vaccine concepts not based on an explicit hypothesis or rationale for improved performance over those candidates currently in development;
- Vaccine candidates for pandemic and seasonal influenza.