Two novel proteins have the potential to enhance the production of antibodies against a multitude of infectious agents. Terry D. Connell, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University at Buffalo New York, developed and patented the LT-IIa and LT-IIb enterotoxins and their respective mutant proteins as new mucosal adjuvants, or "boosters," that can enhance the potency of existing and future vaccines.
Using a mouse model, the researchers found that the nasal passage is the best mucosal surface on which to apply LT-IIa and LT-IIb as mucosal adjuvants. Mixing a small amount of LT-IIa or LT-IIb with an existing antigen and dripping the mixture into a mouse's nose produces a strong antigen-specific immune response in the nasal passages, saliva, the urogenital tract, and the bloodstream.
"If I want to immunize somebody in Uganda with a vaccine that must be injected, for instance, I have to bring needles, everything must be sterile and everything must be kept cold, which means we need refrigeration," Connell explained. The mixture with LT-IIa and LT-IIb doesn't even have to be sterile, because the nose isn't sterile. The researchers still need to ensure that their vaccine booster does not
have harmful properties.