Enhanced neutralizing antibody titers and Th1 polarization from a novel Escherichia coli derived pandemic influenza vaccine.
Skibinski DAG., Hanson BJ., Lin Y., von Messling V., Jegerlehner A., Tee JBS., Chye DH., Wong SKK., Ng AAP., Lee HY., Au B., Lee BTK., Santoso L., Poidinger M., Fairhurst A-M., Matter A., Bachmann MF., Saudan P., Connolly JE.
Influenza pandemics can spread quickly and cost millions of lives; the 2009 H1N1 pandemic highlighted the shortfall in the current vaccine strategy and the need for an improved global response in terms of shortening the time required to manufacture the vaccine and increasing production capacity. Here we describe the pre-clinical assessment of a novel 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine based on the E. coli-produced HA globular head domain covalently linked to virus-like particles derived from the bacteriophage Qβ. When formulated with alum adjuvant and used to immunize mice, dose finding studies found that a 10 µg dose of this vaccine (3.7 µg globular HA content) induced antibody titers comparable to a 1.5 µg dose (0.7 µg globular HA content) of the licensed 2009 H1N1 pandemic vaccine Panvax, and significantly reduced viral titers in the lung following challenge with 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza A/California/07/2009 virus. While Panvax failed to induce marked T cell responses, the novel vaccine stimulated substantial antigen-specific interferon-γ production in splenocytes from immunized mice, alongside enhanced IgG2a antibody production. In ferrets the vaccine elicited neutralizing antibodies, and following challenge with influenza A/California/07/2009 virus reduced morbidity and lowered viral titers in nasal lavages.