Adjuvant is originated from the Latin word “adjuvare” which means “help” in English to enhance the immunological responses when given together with antigens. The beginning of adjuvant was mineral oil which enhanced the immune response when it was given with inactivated Salmonella typhimurium. Aluminium salt was used to precipitate diphtheria toxoid and increased level of antibody response was demonstrated when administered with alum-precipitated antigens. Since 1930, aluminium salt has been used as DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine) adjuvant. Many candidates were tested for adjuvant activity but only aluminum salt is allowed to use for human vaccines. New adjuvant MF59, oil-in-water emulsion type, was developed for influenza vaccine for elderly (Fluad) and series of AS adjuvant are used for hepatitis B, pandemic flue, and human papiloma virus vaccines. Oil-adjuvanted influenza pandemic vaccines induced higher antibody response than alum-adjuvanted vaccine with higher incidence of adverse events, especially for local reactions. Alum-adjuvanted whole virion inactivated H5N1 vaccine was developed in Japan, and it induced relatively well immune responses in adults. When it applied for children, febrile reaction was noted in approximately 60% of the subjects, with higher antibodies. Recent investigation on innate immunity demonstrates that adjuvant activity is initiated from the stimulation on innate immunity and/or inflammasome, resulting in cytokine induction and antigen uptake by monocytes and macrophages. The probable reason for high incidence of febrile reaction should be investigated to develop a safe and effective influenza vaccine.
2011 by the PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN