Improving adjuvant responses is a promising pathway to develop vaccines against some pathogens (e.g., HIV or dengue). One challenge in adjuvant development is modulating the inflammatory response, which can cause excess side effects, while maintaining immune activation and protection. No approved adjuvants yet have the capability to independently modulate inflammation and protection. Here, we demonstrate a method to limit inflammation while retaining and often increasing the protective responses. To accomplish this goal, we combined a partial selective nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) inhibitor with several current adjuvants. The resulting vaccines reduce systemic inflammation and boost protective responses. In an influenza challenge model, we demonstrate that this approach enhances protection. This method was tested across a broad range of adjuvants and antigens. We anticipate these studies will lead to an alternative approach to vaccine formulation design that may prove broadly applicable to a wide range of adjuvants and vaccines.
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