Vaccines for Respiratory Viruses

Technology Overview

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children worldwide. It is also increasingly recognized as an impactful pathogen among individuals with immunocompromised immunity. No vaccine for RSV is currently available but research efforts are underway to develop a safe and effective RSV vaccine that would benefit these patient populations.

Dr. Dennis Lindell

Dr. Dennis Lindell

An ideal RSV vaccine would be immunogenic and safe in all susceptible populations. However, many vaccine candidates have failed to achieve a balance between immunogenicity and safety. Our group and others have shown that mucosal vaccination is efficacious in animal models against various infections, including RSV. Using this approach, an RSV vaccine composition is mixed with an immune cell–targeting and –enhancing emulsion to induce a protective immune response and to avoid vaccine-induced disease enhancement.

Inactivated nasal-delivered vaccines have several benefits. First, these vaccines are inactivated such that they can be administered to people who cannot tolerate live vaccines. Second, they are less costly to manufacture than live viral vaccines. Additionally, they are shelf-stable (avoiding the need for cold storage, which can be particularly challenging in developing countries).

To further this technology, Dr. Dennis Lindell and the Lindell Lab are evaluating various compounds for adjuvant use with inactivated, nasal-delivered nanoemulsion- or microemulsion-based vaccines for respiratory viruses, including RSV. A combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches, including animal models of viral infection and asthma, are being used to investigate disease processes and compounds of interest. Data obtained to date indicate that inclusion of certain compounds generates a stronger immune response than with an emulsion and inactivated virus combination alone.

Mucosal vaccination for pathogens acquired through the respiratory system is largely an underexplored avenue of research and deserves more attention given the significant impact of respiratory infections worldwide, and the unmet needs in the current treatment landscape.

Stage of Development

  • Pre-clinical in vitro
  • Pre-clinical in vivo

Partnering Opportunities

  • Collaborative research opportunity
  • Sponsored research agreement


  1. Morris S, Swanson MS, Lieberman A, Reed M, Yue Z, Lindell DM, Lukacs NW. Autophagy-mediated dendritic cell activation is essential for innate cytokine production and APC function with respiratory syncytial virus responses. J Immunol. 2011;187(8):3953-61
  2. Lindell DM, Morris SB, White MP, et al. A novel inactivated intranasal respiratory syncytial virus vaccine promotes viral clearance without Th2 associated vaccine-enhanced disease. PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e21823.
  3. Lukacs NW, Smit JJ, Mukherjee S, Morris SB, Nunez G, Lindell DM. Respiratory virus-induced TLR7 activation controls IL-17-associated increased mucus via IL-23 regulation. J Immunol. 2010;185(4):2231-39.

Learn More

To learn more about partnering with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on this or other projects, please contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Aylward
Director, Office of Science-Industry Partnerships