Single Dose Vaccines
As exemplified by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines save lives; however, there are many obstacles to successful vaccine programs: including the time it takes to develop a new vaccine and get FDA approval, patient compliance, and community availability. The creation of single-administration vaccines could revolutionize human health by improving patient compliance, reducing adverse reactions, improving efficiency, and saving long-term costs.
The single-administration vaccine project focuses on three major aims:
1. Inducing Trained Immunity Using PLGA Nanoparticles
Trained immunity is the innate immune form of immunological “memory”, where cells mount a better immune response against repeated infections with the same pathogen. Our lab has previously shown that, by incorporating inducers of trained immunity—such as β-glucan—into nanoparticles, we can elicit more controlled and sustained immune responses compared to a free equivalent of the training inducer. Trained immunity has typically been studied in vivo using intraperitoneal (IP) injections, however, most human injections are given intramuscularly (IM), subcutaneously (SC), or intranasally (IN). Therefore, we strive to show that trained immunity can be induced in these more traditional routes using a PLGA nanoparticle platform. The lab is especially interested in intranasal vaccines due to their capacity to provide mucosal immunity and serve as a less invasive method of vaccination than needle injections.
2. Delayed Release Nanoparticle
Delayed release vaccination strategies can achieve an optimal vaccine response by ensuring that different vaccine components reach target cells at precise times in the vaccine schedule. They can also prolong the half-lives of immune potentiators and lower the dosage amount required. Pulsatile release systems allow for delayed and controlled release of vaccine contents, allowing for the incorporation of a prime and boost into one injection. Our lab has previously shown that, by using a double-coated nanoparticle approach, the release of different components can be controlled. We are currently refining this approach and applying it to other subunit vaccines.
3. Multiple Antigen Vaccines
While vaccines have been a boon for human health, the number of vaccines required and their differing vaccination schedules often require an inconvenient number of doctor’s visits. Creating vaccines that protect against multiple pathogens with one injection would increase vaccination compliance and lower logistical burdens such as storage requirements, transport, etc. This would be especially useful for military personnel or those in low-resource countries.