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Matrix-M adjuvant is a saponin-based adjuvant, patented by Novavax, that stimulates humoral and cellular immune responses to vaccines.[1][2][3] It is composed of nanoparticles from saponins extracted from Quillaja saponaria (soapbark) trees, cholesterol, and phospholipids.[4][5][6] It is an immune stimulating complex (ISCOM), which are nanospheres formed when saponin is mixed with two types of fats.[7]

Adjuvants increase the body's immune response to a vaccine by creating higher levels of antibodies.[8] They can either enhance, modulate, and/or prolong the body's immune response, reducing the number of vaccinations needed for immunization.[9]

The Matrix-M adjuvant is used in a number of vaccine candidates, including the malaria vaccine R21/Matrix-M,[1][10] influenza vaccines,[2] and the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.[4][11] In 2021, the R21/Matrix-M vaccine candidate showed a 77% efficacy over a 12-month period.[10][4] In influenza vaccine candidates, Matrix-M was shown to offer cross-protection against multiple strains of influenza.[11][2][3]

Novavax is also testing a combined flu and COVID-19 vaccine candidate with Matrix-M.[12]


  1. ^ a b Datoo, Mehreen S.; Natama, Magloire H.; Somé, Athanase; Traoré, Ousmane; Rouamba, Toussaint; Bellamy, Duncan; Yameogo, Prisca; Valia, Daniel; Tegneri, Moubarak; Ouedraogo, Florence; Soma, Rachidatou (2021-05-15). "Efficacy of a low-dose candidate malaria vaccine, R21 in adjuvant Matrix-M, with seasonal administration to children in Burkina Faso: a randomised controlled trial". The Lancet. 397 (10287): 1809–1818. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00943-0. ISSN 0140-6736. PMC 8121760. PMID 33964223.
  2. ^ a b c Magnusson, Sofia E.; Reimer, Jenny M.; Karlsson, Karin H.; Lilja, Lena; Bengtsson, Karin Lövgren; Stertman, Linda (2013-03-25). "Immune enhancing properties of the novel Matrix-M adjuvant leads to potentiated immune responses to an influenza vaccine in mice". Vaccine. 31 (13): 1725–1733. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.01.039. ISSN 0264-410X.
  3. ^ a b "NanoFlu is on the FDA's Vaccine Fast-Track". Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  4. ^ a b c Satyanarayana, Megha (2021-08-17). "A new, powerful malaria vaccine may be on the horizon". Retrieved 2021-10-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Is Old Vaccine Technology the Key to Hesitancy?". 2021-06-17. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  6. ^ King2021-02-04T14:10:00+00:00, Anthony. "Covid vaccination efforts bolstered by trial results from J&J and Novavax". Chemistry World. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  7. ^ Milicic, Anita. "Adjuvants: the unsung heroes of vaccines". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  8. ^ "Moths and tree bark: How the Novavax vaccine works". Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  9. ^ Bonam, Srinivasa Reddy; Partidos, Charalambos D.; Halmuthur, Sampath Kumar M.; Muller, Sylviane (September 2017). "An Overview of Novel Adjuvants Designed for Improving Vaccine Efficacy". Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. 38 (9): 771–793. doi:10.1016/ ISSN 1873-3735. PMID 28668223.
  10. ^ a b "Malaria vaccine becomes first to achieve WHO-specified 75 percent efficacy goal". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  11. ^ a b Borrell, Brendan (2020-10-21). "The Tree That Could Help Stop the Pandemic". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  12. ^ News, Sarah Jane Tribble, Rachana Pradhan, Kaiser Health. "Novavax's effort to vaccinate the world, from zero to not quite warp speed". Quartz. Retrieved 2021-10-28. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)