Vaccines are preparations of killed, inactivated or sub-units derived from bacteria or viruses. These preparations produce an immune response in the body and in turn provides the body with immunity to the microorganism.
Traditional adjuvants were mainly used to deliver the vaccine antigen. Next generation adjuvants consist of both delivery vehicle and immunostimulants used to boost the immunogenicity of modern vaccines, by enhancing the body’s immune response to the antigens. As a result, commercial vaccines on the market contain different types of adjuvants. Researchers have for decades used adjuvants as a component of vaccine formulations as it is safe to use and it has improved the overall potency of vaccines. Furthermore, adjuvants have also shown that they have a “dose-sparing” effect – meaning that less antigens can be used in formulations that contain adjuvants for the same level of protection. This has major significance for disease outbreaks, where vaccine stocks may diminish due to the large number of people being infected. Adjuvants have also broadened the coverage of strain-specific vaccines which may result in protection against new emerging strains.
With the help of adjuvant technologies, not only is the immune response increased, but the costs of vaccines are lowered due to lower dose requirements, which is essential for the developing world.
Until the inception of Afrigen no adjuvant formulation facilities existed in the Southern Hemisphere.
Customised Adjuvant Formulations
In vaccine development, complex factors such as formulation with adjuvants (including clinical development of vaccine adjuvants), physicochemical interactions, biocompatibility and bioactivity characterisation, are often underestimated. Evaluation of appropriate adjuvant formulations for vaccines should take disease target, route of administration, type of formulation, mechanism of action and intended use (delivery vs. immune potentiation) into consideration. This is part of the unique service that is offered by Afrigen’s adjuvant formulation centre.
Afrigen’s adjuvant formulation library consists of various formulations which may incorporate one or more immunostimulatory ligands such as Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, which when bound to the TLR, will initiate a cascade of events that lead to humoral and/or cellular immune responses.