HHMI and Integrated Dept of Immunology, National Jewish HealthView Slides
Vaccines are universally used to prevent certain infections or pathology caused by certain bacterial products -- for example diphtheria toxin. In order to do their job, vaccines must contain not only a portion of their target infectious agent but also an adjuvant. In the past adjuvants have been used quite randomly in different vaccines and without any knowledge of how they function. Recently we and others have begun to find out what adjuvants actually do. Now the goal of many vaccinologists is to create vaccines that contain an adjuvant that is best suited to protect against the target infection. With that in mind, we have recently designed a vaccine that might provide some protection against influenza, regardless of the strain of flu circulating in any given year. Often the public is nervous about vaccines, thinking that they may have unwelcome side effects. We will discuss this problem.