Vaccine research at Statens Serum Institut goes back to the institute’s founding in 1902, when it was set up to produce antisera for Diphtheria. Research soon expanded to other epidemic diseases. Today the main effort is devoted to vaccines against tuberculosis, chlamydia, HIV and novel adjuvants to direct and potentiate the immune responses.
Vaccine research at Statens Serum Institut is focused on diseases that represent a major threat to global health such as tuberculosis, HIV, Chlamydia, Malaria and pandemic influenza. This work involves detailed antigen discovery programs aimed at identifying the proteins that are expressed by these pathogens and recognized by the immune system. The research is a multidisciplinary program involving genomics, proteomics, analyses of bacterial growth in the laboratory and human field studies in areas where these diseases are endemic.
The collaborations involved in the work span the globe with partners in Europe, North America, the Pacific, Africa and Asia. This program has successfully discovered promising new vaccines against tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, which are in human clinical trials in Europe and Africa.
The work is supported by basic research into adjuvant discovery, formulation and basic immunology which can potentially be applied to many vaccines. This has the goal of not only discovering new vaccines, but also improving the efficacy and safety of already existing vaccines. The efforts have been successful, with one of the first new adjuvants to be discovered in decades now in early stage clinical trials in humans.
The vaccine research program at Statens Serum Institut has special expertise in the production of synthetic vaccines based on recombinant protein or DNA. These vaccines are of special interest because they are safe, cheap to produce and potentially very flexible. However in the past, synthetic vaccines were generally considered poorly immunogenic and thus not very effective. New vaccine delivery technology such as adjuvants have changed that. As a result, the Statens Serum Institut leads many international consortia aimed at developing new vaccines.