A novel method for researching vaccines that prevent avian influenza was highlighted at the recent One Health Summit, an annual BioKansas conference that shares knowledge to strengthen public safety.

Recognizing that animal health can affect human health, the One Health Summit featured a presentation about how next-generation adjuvants — ingredients added to vaccines to improve the immune response — are a foundational tool for managing contagious diseases. Mary Ann Pfannenstiel, Ph.D., vice president, VaxLiant*, used avian influenza research as an example to show how an innovative adjuvant can improve health by preventing disease.

“Since influenza is a zoonotic disease — one that can spread among animals and humans, it represents one of the greatest threats to human health,” said Pfannenstiel. “And even when the likelihood of disease transmission from animals to humans is low, as with the H5N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) currently circulating in the United States, removing animals exposed to AIV from farms can affect the available food supply. That’s why discovering and developing new adjuvants to aid in prevention of disease in animals is so important to the concept of One Health."

Pfannenstiel showed data from laboratory research and clinical trials of a vaccine combining gene-sequenced DNA (specifically, the AIV hemagglutinin gene) with ENABL*, an adjuvant with the uncommon ability to keep a ready-to-use DNA vaccine stable for more than 18 months. The research demonstrated the vaccine gave a protective immune response against AIV as measured by HAI antibody titer. Beyond that, the protective antibody titer was achieved using a low dose of antigen — an important feature when commercializing vaccines for practical use


“This research shows that using next-generation adjuvants, like ENABL, to develop new vaccines will allow us to prevent disease more effectively than ever before,” said Pfannenstiel. “The technology enables a quicker vaccine-development timeline and the ability to distinguish vaccinated animals from non-vaccinates naturally exposed to a virus, both of which are important when managing outbreaks. Novel adjuvants bring these advantages and more to vaccines that will make a vital difference in both human and animal health.

ENABL is an innovative, ready-to-use adjuvant from VaxLiant that can be added to vaccines to help improve the resulting immune response in cattle, poultry and swine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture already has approved the safety of 10 ENABL formulations for swine and cattle vaccines with a 21-day withdrawal period, the shortest allowed for food-animal vaccines. 

VaxLiant is a joint venture between two established companies: Benchmark Biolabs, Lincoln, NB, and AgriLabs*, St. Joseph, MO.

*Registered trademarks