Third participant enrolled in VRC 207 receives a dose of the investigational NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine

A clinical trial participant receives a dose of an investigational Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center.

Credit: NIAID

Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce immune responses that protect against infection. Vaccines provide a safe, cost-effective and efficient means of preventing illness, disability and death from infectious diseases.

Why Is Vaccine Research a Priority for NIAID?

Vaccines have saved millions of lives worldwide and dramatically reduced the prevalence of many life-threatening infectious diseases. Yet there remains a need for new and improved vaccines against existing infectious diseases, as well as a need for rapid development of experimental vaccines to address emerging infectious diseases. NIAID supports and conducts research to identify new vaccine candidates to prevent a variety of infectious diseases, including those for which no vaccines currently exist. NIAID-supported research also aims to improve the safety and efficacy of existing vaccines.

How Is NIAID Addressing This Important Area of Study?

NIAID conducts and supports numerous stages of the vaccine development process, ranging from basic immunology research to clinical testing of candidate vaccines. Basic research aims to understand the complex interactions between pathogens and their human hosts and generate the knowledge essential for developing safe and effective vaccines. Preclinical research helps advance promising vaccine candidates into human testing. Clinical trials evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of investigational vaccines in people.

Volunteer for COVID-19 Clinical Trials

NIAID conducts and supports clinical trials evaluating therapies and vaccine candidates against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about volunteering for COVID-19 clinical trials.

Featured Research

Safe and Effective RSV Protein Vaccines

NIAID-funded basic and clinical studies helped establish the fundamental knowledge necessary for the private sector to develop protein vaccines. These vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe RSV in some target populations.

Read more about Safe and Effective RSV Protein Vaccines

Related Public Health and Government Information

For general health information about vaccines, visit and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccines & Immunizations site. Vaccines are held to very high safety standards; for more information, see the Vaccine Safety page on 

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