Iomai gets boost in bird flu vaccine adjuvant study

In a Phase I/II trial, three out of every four people in a study of 500 people using an adjuvant patch developed by Iomai achieved a protective immune response after a single dose. That compares to 49 percent who achieved a protective response after a single, unsupported dose of vaccine. The currently approved H5N1 vaccine requires two doses on its own to become fully effective. That's big news at Gaithersburg, MD-based Iomai, which has also reported success advancing a patch for traveler's diarrhea through mid-stage trials.

"The problem here is that we don't have any way to respond to a pandemic right now," Dr. Gregory Glenn, chief scientific officer at Iomai, tells us in an interview. There's an urgent need to improve the effectiveness of vaccines--and extend stockpiles--in the event a human outbreak occurs.

The trial report marks a particularly sweet moment for Glenn, whose early work in vaccine and adjuvant research at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research later developed into the patch technology advanced at Iomai. And every new insight of his hasn't been greeted with instantaneous applause from his peers.

"The scientists and I had a good laugh," says Glenn. "They were recalling when I first came up with the idea. They laughed at me, said it was crazy, using a patch on the skin to get improved immune response to a selected vaccine."

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