Producing Novel Vaccines

Methods of enhancing disease immunity could prevent and alleviate global epidemics.

Vaccines are one of the most significant medical advances of all time and, over the last 200 years, they have saved millions of lives around the world. To combat the emerging problems of a growing global population, the continued appearance of new viral mutations, and increasingly burdened healthcare systems, it is crucial to continue investing in the development of new vaccines that can prevent disease, save lives, and reduce healthcare costs.

Over the course of its history, the IRP has played an integral role in the development of roughly half of all FDA-approved vaccines currently in use, including the vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV) that is now recommended for all 11- and 12-year-olds and is thought to prevent about 28,000 cancers every year. IRP research was also key to the creation of the hepatitis A vaccine, which has helped reduce the condition’s prevalence in the U.S. by 92 percent since 1995, and the first-ever vaccine for rotavirus, the most common cause of severe childhood diarrhea worldwide and the cause of nearly half a million deaths each year. More recently, IRP investigators have developed and tested vaccines for malaria, Ebola, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Chikungunya virus, dengue fever, and the Marburg virus.

The IRP has positioned itself as a leader in the field of vaccine research and development, with world-class resources and infrastructure housed within an integrated vaccine research program and a collection of dedicated experts working across the entire vaccine research and development continuum, all the way from basic immunology research to vaccine production and clinical trial induction. The IRP has a dedicated Vaccine Research Center focused on the development of vaccines for HIV/AIDS, Ebola, influenza, and numerous other diseases through basic research, clinical trials, partnerships with industry, and the development of new methodologies and training initiatives. In addition, IRP researchers have access to advanced drug-screening robots and vast libraries of therapeutic compounds, allowing them to test thousands of potential drug candidates in record time. Among other accomplishments, these resources have led to the identification of a potential avenue for protecting against the Zika virus.

The IRP is poised to continue to accelerate the pace of progress within this essential field of study and save even more lives. All across the IRP, talented scientists are conducting cutting-edge research to:

  • Develop effective vaccines that address high-burden diseases such as malaria, dengue and tuberculosis.
  • Create vaccines against biodefense threats and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including influenza, filoviruses and MERS coronavirus, with vaccines for Marburg and Ebola currently in Phase 1 trials.
  • Improve the safety and efficacy of DNA and nucleic acid vaccination technologies.
  • Research novel vaccines that can prevent human carcinomas.

Explore these pages for more information about the past, present, and future of IRP vaccine research:

Check out all 12 of the domains in which we are Accelerating Science to learn about how IRP scientists are tackling important biomedical challenges.

This page was last updated on Wednesday, January 12, 2022