Introduction: Neonates are less responsive to vaccines than adults, making it harder to protect newborns against infection. Neonatal differences in antigen-presenting cell, B and T cell function, all likely contribute. A key question is whether novel adjuvants might be able to make neonatal vaccines more effective.
Areas covered: This review addresses the issues of how to improve neonatal vaccines, which we have defined as vaccines given in the first 4 weeks of life in a human infant or the first week of life in a mouse. A search was performed using keywords including ‘neonatal immunity’, ‘neonatal immunisation’, ‘vaccine’ and ‘adjuvant’ of PubMed articles published between 1960 and 2018.
Expert opinion: Sugar-like structures have recently been shown to prime the infant adaptive immune system to respond to vaccines, being potentially more effective than traditional adjuvants. Sugar-based compounds with beneficial adjuvant effects in neonatal vaccine models include delta inulin (Advax), curdlan, and trehalose 6,6ʹ-dibehenate. Such compounds make interesting neonatal adjuvant candidates, either used alone or in combination with traditional innate immune adjuvants.
- delta inulin