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Sequential Immunization with Universal Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Candidates Protects Ferrets against a High-Dose Heterologous Virus Challenge

1
Department of Virology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, St Petersburg 197376, Russia
2
Department of Preclinical Trials, Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza, St Petersburg 197376, Russia
3
Department of Toxicology and Microbiology, Institute of Preclinical Research Ltd., St Petersburg 188663, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vaccines 2019, 7(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines7030061
Received: 22 May 2019 / Revised: 28 June 2019 / Accepted: 4 July 2019 / Published: 8 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Influenza Virus Vaccines)
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Abstract

The development of universal influenza vaccines has been a priority for more than 20 years. We conducted a preclinical study in ferrets of two sets of live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs) expressing chimeric hemagglutinin (cHA). These vaccines contained the HA stalk domain from H1N1pdm09 virus but had antigenically unrelated globular head domains from avian influenza viruses H5N1, H8N4 and H9N2. The viral nucleoproteins (NPs) in the two sets of universal LAIV candidates were from different sources: one LAIV set contained NP from A/Leningrad/17 master donor virus (MDV), while in the other set this gene was from wild-type (WT) H1N1pdm09 virus, in order to better match the CD8 T-cell epitopes of currently circulating influenza A viruses. To avoid any difference in protective effect of the various anti-neuraminidase (NA) antibodies, all LAIVs were engineered to contain the NA gene of Len/17 MDV. Naïve ferrets were sequentially immunized with three doses of (i) classical LAIVs containing non-chimeric HA and NP from MDV (LAIVs (NP-MDV)); (ii) cHA-based LAIVs containing NP from MDV (cHA LAIVs (NP-MDV)); and (iii) cHA-based LAIVs containing NP from H1N1pdm09 virus (cHA LAIVs (NP-WT)). All vaccination regimens were safe, producing no significant increase in body temperature or weight loss, in comparison with the placebo group. The two groups of cHA-based vaccines induced a broadly reactive HA stalk-directed antibody, while classical LAIVs did not. A high-dose challenge with H1N1pdm09 virus induced significant pathology in the control, non-immunized ferrets, including high virus titers in respiratory tissues, clinical signs of disease and histopathological changes in nasal turbinates and lung tissues. All three vaccination regimens protected animals from clinical manifestations of disease: immunized ferrets did not lose weight or show clinical symptoms, and their fever was significantly lower than in the control group. Further analysis of virological and pathological data revealed the following hierarchy in the cross-protective efficacy of the vaccines: cHA LAIVs (NP-WT) > cHA LAIVs (NP-MDV) > LAIVs (NP-MDV). This ferret study showed that prototype universal cHA-based LAIVs are highly promising candidates for further clinical development. View Full-Text
Keywords: universal influenza vaccine; chimeric hemagglutinin; nucleoprotein; live attenuated influenza vaccine; sequential immunization; ferret model universal influenza vaccine; chimeric hemagglutinin; nucleoprotein; live attenuated influenza vaccine; sequential immunization; ferret model
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Isakova-Sivak, I.; Matyushenko, V.; Kotomina, T.; Kiseleva, I.; Krutikova, E.; Donina, S.; Rekstin, A.; Larionova, N.; Mezhenskaya, D.; Sivak, K.; Muzhikyan, A.; Katelnikova, A.; Rudenko, L. Sequential Immunization with Universal Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Candidates Protects Ferrets against a High-Dose Heterologous Virus Challenge. Vaccines 2019, 7, 61.

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