Bacterially produced recombinant influenza vaccines based on virus-like particles.
Jegerlehner A., Zabel F., Langer A., Dietmeier K., Jennings GT., Saudan P., Bachmann MF.
Although current influenza vaccines are effective in general, there is an urgent need for the development of new technologies to improve vaccine production timelines, capacities and immunogenicity. Herein, we describe the development of an influenza vaccine technology which enables recombinant production of highly efficient influenza vaccines in bacterial expression systems. The globular head domain of influenza hemagglutinin, comprising most of the protein's neutralizing epitopes, was expressed in E. coli and covalently conjugated to bacteriophage-derived virus-like particles produced independently in E.coli. Conjugate influenza vaccines produced this way were used to immunize mice and found to elicit immune sera with high antibody titers specific for the native influenza hemagglutinin protein and high hemagglutination-inhibition titers. Moreover vaccination with these vaccines induced full protection against lethal challenges with homologous and highly drifted influenza strains.