Vaccines have been a cornerstone of global health campaigns to provide protection against infectious diseases. However, discovery of new vaccines currently relies on a long and costly process of trial and error, and this approach has an uneven record of success. The proliferation of novel antigens, adjuvants, and formulations require new methods to more reliably select those entities that will elicit protective immune responses in humans.
The global health community also needs new ways to protect against infectious diseases that do not resemble traditional vaccines, which currently are dependent upon the limitations of the human immune system. Such dependence places a fundamental restriction on the solutions developed against infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, TB, diarrhea, and pneumonia. We need new ways of pushing past these obstacles to expand the range of health interventions that protect against infectious diseases.
What We Are Looking For:
The goal of this topic is to solicit generic approaches to identify effective antigens, novel methods, or agents to generate an immune response. Unconventional approaches to effectively harness the immune response, create an artificial immune response, block pathogen transmission, or shift the underlying epidemiology to protect against infection and disease are also solicited. We seek proposals “off the beaten track,” significantly radical in conception, and daring in premise.
Note: Specific vaccine concepts for diarrhea, HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and TB should be submitted under “Create New Vaccines for Diarrhea, HIV, Malaria, Pneumonia, and TB.”
A few of the many options to be considered include:
- Reliable generic approaches to the design and selection of antigens and adjuvants, including the understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which adjuvants stimulate the immune system;
- Alternative approaches to effective presentation of antigens and other key stimulating factors;
- New computational or laboratory-based systems for rapidly testing vaccines and predicting their efficacy;
- Applications of radically new technologies for disease protection, such as production of immunogens using synthetic biology or radical genetic engineering approaches;
- Novel technologies or approaches to generate immunity at the population level;
- Novel therapeutics or immunomodulators with an explicit linkage to and clear hypothesis of a specific mechanism for protecting against infectious diseases;
- Approaches to disrupt disease transmission or change disease epidemiology based on the generation of protection against infectious diseases.
For this topic, we will not consider funding for:
- Proposals focused on a disease outside the priorities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (seehttp://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/Pri_Diseases);
- Proposals that aim to identify novel therapeutics that do not articulate a clear hypothesis of a specific mechanism for protecting against infectious diseases on an individual or population level;
- Proposals that aim to identify nutritional interventions that do not articulate clear hypothesis of a specific mechanism for protecting against infectious diseases on an individual or population level;
- Proposals that employ current methods for vaccine discovery, development, or delivery;
- Proposals focusing on molecular pathways targeted by currently available adjuvants or adjuvants currently in clinical development.