Army Liposome Formulation (ALF) family of vaccine adjuvants

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2020 Mar;19(3):279-292. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2020.1745636. Epub 2020 Mar 31.


Introduction: From its earliest days, the US. military has embraced the use of vaccines to fight infectious diseases. The Army Liposome Formulation (ALF) has been a pivotal innovation as a vaccine adjuvant that provides excellent safety and potency and could lead to dual-use military and civilian benefits. For protection of personnel against difficult disease threats found in many areas of the world, Army vaccine scientists have created novel liposome-based vaccine adjuvants.Areas covered: ALF consists of liposomes containing saturated phospholipids, cholesterol, and monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) as an immunostimulant. ALF exhibited safety and strong potency in many vaccine clinical trials. Improvements based on ALF include: ALF adsorbed to aluminum hydroxide (ALFA); ALF containing QS21 saponin (ALFQ); and ALFQ adsorbed to aluminum hydroxide (ALFQA). Preclinical safety and efficacy studies with ALF, LFA, ALFQ, and ALFQA are discussed in preparation for upcoming vaccine trials targeting malaria, HIV-1, bacterial diarrhea, and opioid addiction.Expert opinion: The introduction of ALF in the 1980s stimulated commercial interest in vaccines to infectious diseases, and therapeutic vaccines to cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. It is likely that ALF, ALFA, and ALFQ, will provide momentum for new types of modern vaccines with improved efficacy and safety.

Keywords: ALF; ALFA; ALFQ; AS01; Army Liposome Formulation; HIV-1 vaccine; QS-21; QS21; Vaccine adjuvant; diarrhea vaccine; heroin vaccine; liposomes; malaria vaccine; monophosphoryl lipid A.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / history
  • Animals
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Liposomes
  • Military Medicine / history*
  • United States
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines / history
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Liposomes
  • Vaccines