Special Issue "Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development"

A special issue of Vaccines (ISSN 2076-393X). This special issue belongs to the section "Influenza Virus Vaccines".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ewan Plant

Guest Editor
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, 10903 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA
Interests: influenza viruses; vaccines; vaccination; serology; correlates of protection.
Dr. Hang Xie

Guest Editor
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, 10903 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA
Interests: influenza pathogenesis; animal model; virus-host interaction; infection and immunity; vaccinology; antigenicity; humoral immunity; cellular immunity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Influenza is a significant public health concern. Conventional vaccines (split, subviron or recombinant vaccines) mainly target viral hemagglutinin (HA) on the surface of viral particles and elicit neutralizing antibodies to prevent influenza infections. However, influenza viruses undergo frequent antigenic drift and/or antigenic shift that often compromise influenza vaccine performance or result in seasons with vaccine mismatch and poor protection.   

We are calling for manuscripts detailing the mechanisms of influenza virus replication and pathogenesis and describing how this information facilitates novel vaccine development. We particularly encourage submission of manuscripts that are not limited to HA but address other viral proteins (e.g., neuraminidase, matrix protein, polymerases) and/or different vaccine formats (e.g., DNA vaccine, viral-like particle). We sincerely hope this Special Issue serves as a platform for the exchange of the latest developments in the field of influenza virus and vaccines.

Dr. Ewan Plant
Dr. Hang Xie
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Vaccines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • influenza viruses
  • vaccines
  • vaccination
  • serology
  • correlates of protection
  • influenza pathogenesis
  • animal models
  • virus–host interaction
  • infection and immunity
  • vaccinology
  • antigenicity
  • humoral immunity
  • cellular immunity

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Mass Spectrometric Characterization of Narcolepsy-Associated Pandemic 2009 Influenza Vaccines
Vaccines 2020, 8(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040630 - 30 Oct 2020
Abstract
The onset of narcolepsy, an irreversible sleep disorder, has been associated with 2009 influenza pandemic (pH1N1) infections in China, and with ASO3-adjuvanted pH1N1 vaccinations using Pandemrix in Europe. Intriguingly, however, the increased incidence was only observed following vaccination with Pandemrix but not Arepanrix [...] Read more.
The onset of narcolepsy, an irreversible sleep disorder, has been associated with 2009 influenza pandemic (pH1N1) infections in China, and with ASO3-adjuvanted pH1N1 vaccinations using Pandemrix in Europe. Intriguingly, however, the increased incidence was only observed following vaccination with Pandemrix but not Arepanrix in Canada. In this study, the mutational burden of actual vaccine lots of Pandemrix (n = 6) and Arepanrix (n = 5) sourced from Canada, and Northern Europe were characterized by mass spectrometry. The four most abundant influenza proteins across both vaccines were nucleoprotein NP, hemagglutinin HA, matrix protein M1, with the exception that Pandemrix harbored a significantly increased proportion of neuraminidase NA (7.5%) as compared to Arepanrix (2.6%). Most significantly, 17 motifs in HA, NP, and M1 harbored mutations, which significantly differed in Pandemrix versus Arepanrix. Among these, a 6-fold higher deamidation of HA146 (p.Asn146Asp) in Arepanrix was found relative to Pandemrix, while NP257 (p.Thr257Ala) and NP424 (p.Thr424Ile) were increased in Pandemrix. DQ0602 binding and tetramer analysis with mutated epitopes were conducted in Pandemrix-vaccinated cases versus controls but were unremarkable. Pandemrix harbored lower mutational burden than Arepanrix, indicating higher similarity to wild-type 2009 pH1N1, which could explain differences in narcolepsy susceptibility amongst the vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Evaluation of Vero Cell-Derived Master Donor Viruses for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness
Vaccines 2020, 8(4), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040626 - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
The embryonated egg-based platform currently produces the majority of seasonal influenza vaccines by employing a well-developed master donor virus (MDV, A/PR/8/34 (PR8)) to generate high-growth reassortants (HGRs) for A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 subtypes. Although the egg-based platform can supply enough seasonal influenza vaccines, it [...] Read more.
The embryonated egg-based platform currently produces the majority of seasonal influenza vaccines by employing a well-developed master donor virus (MDV, A/PR/8/34 (PR8)) to generate high-growth reassortants (HGRs) for A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 subtypes. Although the egg-based platform can supply enough seasonal influenza vaccines, it cannot meet surging demands during influenza pandemics. Therefore, multi-purpose platforms are desirable for pandemic preparedness. The Vero cell-based production platform is widely used for human vaccines and could be a potential multi-purpose platform for pandemic influenza vaccines. However, many wild-type and egg-derived influenza viruses cannot grow efficiently in Vero cells. Therefore, it is critical to develop Vero cell-derived high-growth MDVs for pandemic preparedness. In this study, we evaluated two in-house MDVs (Vero-15 and VB5) and two external MDVs (PR8 and PR8-HY) to generate Vero cell-derived HGRs for five avian influenza viruses (AIVs) with pandemic potentials (H5N1 clade 2.3.4, H5N1 clade 2.3.2.1, American-lineage H5N2, H7N9 first wave and H7N9 fifth wave). Overall, no single MDV could generate HGRs for all five AIVs, but this goal could be achieved by employing two in-house MDVs (vB5 and Vero-15). In immunization studies, mice received two doses of Vero cell-derived inactivated H5N1 and H7N9 whole virus antigens adjuvanted with alum and developed robust antibody responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Co-Administration of Soluble PD-1 Ectodomains Modifies Immune Responses against Influenza A Virus Induced by DNA Vaccination
Vaccines 2020, 8(4), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040570 - 01 Oct 2020
Abstract
Due to the low efficacy and the need for seasonal adaptation of currently licensed influenza A vaccines, the importance of alternative vaccination strategies is increasingly recognized. Considering that DNA vaccines can be rapidly manufactured and readily adapted with novel antigen sequences, genetic vaccination [...] Read more.
Due to the low efficacy and the need for seasonal adaptation of currently licensed influenza A vaccines, the importance of alternative vaccination strategies is increasingly recognized. Considering that DNA vaccines can be rapidly manufactured and readily adapted with novel antigen sequences, genetic vaccination is a promising immunization platform. However, the applicability of different genetic adjuvants to this approach still represents a complex challenge. Immune checkpoints are a class of molecules involved in adaptive immune responses and germinal center reactions. In this study, we immunized mice by intramuscular electroporation with a DNA-vaccine encoding hemagglutinin (HA) and nucleoprotein (NP) of the influenza A virus. The DNA-vaccine was applied either alone or in combination with genetic adjuvants encoding the soluble ectodomains of programmed cell death protein-1 (sPD-1) or its ligand (sPD-L1). Co-administration of genetic checkpoint adjuvants did not significantly alter immune responses against NP. In contrast, sPD-1 co-electroporation elevated HA-specific CD4+ T cell responses, decreased regulatory CD4+ T cell pools, and modulated the IgG2a-biased HA antibody pattern towards an isotype-balanced IgG response with a trend to higher influenza neutralization in vitro. Taken together, our data demonstrate that a genetic DNA-adjuvant encoding soluble ectodomains of sPD-1 was able to modulate immune responses induced by a co-administered influenza DNA vaccine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of Influenza A DNA Vaccines Encoding Artificial Antigens Based on Conservative Hemagglutinin Stem Region and M2 Protein in Mice
Vaccines 2020, 8(3), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8030448 - 09 Aug 2020
Abstract
Background: Development of a universal vaccine capable to induce antibody responses against a broad range of influenza virus strains attracts growing attention. Hemagglutinin stem and the exposed fragment of influenza virus M2 protein are promising targets for induction of cross-protective humoral and cell-mediated [...] Read more.
Background: Development of a universal vaccine capable to induce antibody responses against a broad range of influenza virus strains attracts growing attention. Hemagglutinin stem and the exposed fragment of influenza virus M2 protein are promising targets for induction of cross-protective humoral and cell-mediated response, since they contain conservative epitopes capable to induce antibodies and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to a wide range of influenza virus subtypes. Methods: In this study, we generated DNA vaccine constructs encoding artificial antigens AgH1, AgH3, and AgM2 designed on the basis of conservative hemagglutinin stem fragments of two influenza A virus subtypes, H1N1 and H3N2, and conservative M2 protein, and evaluate their immunogenicity and protective efficacy. To obtain DNA vaccine constructs, genes encoding the designed antigens were cloned into a pcDNA3.1 vector. Expression of the target genes in 293T cells transfected with DNA vaccine constructs has been confirmed by synthesis of specific mRNA. Results: Immunization of BALB/c mice with DNA vaccines encoding these antigens was shown to evoke humoral and T-cell immune responses as well as a moderated statistically significant cross-protective effect against two heterologous viruses A/California/4/2009 (H1N1pdm09) and A/Aichi/2/68 (H3N2). Conclusions: The results demonstrate a potential approach to creating a universal influenza vaccine based on artificial antigens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessArticle
A Phase 1 Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study to Assess the Safety, Immunogenicity and Genetic Stability of a New Potential Pandemic H7N9 Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine in Healthy Adults
Vaccines 2020, 8(2), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020296 - 10 Jun 2020
Abstract
This study describes a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled phase I clinical trial in healthy adults of a new potential pandemic H7N9 live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) based on the human influenza virus of Yangtze River Delta hemagglutinin lineage (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03739229). Two doses of [...] Read more.
This study describes a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled phase I clinical trial in healthy adults of a new potential pandemic H7N9 live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) based on the human influenza virus of Yangtze River Delta hemagglutinin lineage (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03739229). Two doses of H7N9 LAIV or placebo were administered intranasally to 30 and 10 subjects, respectively. The vaccine was well-tolerated and not associated with increased rates of adverse events or with any serious adverse events. Vaccine virus was detected in nasal swabs during the 6 days after vaccination or revaccination. A lower frequency of shedding was observed after the second vaccination. Twenty-five clinical viral isolates obtained after the first and second doses of vaccine retained the temperature-sensitive and cold-adapted phenotypic characteristics of LAIV. There was no confirmed transmission of the vaccine strain from vaccinees to placebo recipients. After the two H7N9 LAIV doses, an immune response was observed in 96.6% of subjects in at least one of the assays conducted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Recombinant Measles AIK-C Vaccine Strain Expressing Influenza HA Protein
Vaccines 2020, 8(2), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020149 - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Recombinant measles AIK-C vaccine expressing the hemagglutinin (HA) protein of influenza A/Sapporo/107/2013(H1N1pdm) (MVAIK/PdmHA) was constructed. Measles particle agglutination (PA) and influenza hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) antibodies were induced in cotton rats immunized with MVAIK/PdmHA. Cotton rats immunized with two doses of the HA split [...] Read more.
Recombinant measles AIK-C vaccine expressing the hemagglutinin (HA) protein of influenza A/Sapporo/107/2013(H1N1pdm) (MVAIK/PdmHA) was constructed. Measles particle agglutination (PA) and influenza hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) antibodies were induced in cotton rats immunized with MVAIK/PdmHA. Cotton rats immunized with two doses of the HA split vaccine were used as positive controls, and higher HI antibodies were detected 3 weeks after the first dose. Following the challenge of A/California/07/2009(H1N1pdm), higher viral loads (107 TCID50/g) were detected in the lung homogenates of cotton rats immunized with the empty vector (MVAIK) or control groups than those immunized with MVAIK/Pdm HA (103 TCID50/g) or the group immunized with HA split vaccine (105 TCID50/g). Histopathologically, destruction of the alveolar structure, swelling of broncho-epithelial cells, and thickening of the alveolar wall with infiltration of inflammatory cells and HA antigens were detected in lung tissues obtained from non-immunized rats and those immunized with the empty vector after the challenge, but not in those immunized with the HA spilt or MVAIK/PdmHA vaccine. Lower levels of IFN-α, IL-1β, and TNF-α mRNA, and higher levels of IFN-γ mRNA were found in the lung homogenates of the MVAIK/PdmHA group. Higher levels of IFN-γ mRNA were detected in spleen cell culture from the MVAIK/PdmHA group stimulated with UV-inactivated A/California/07/2009(H1N1pdm). In conclusion, the recombinant MVAIK vaccine expressing influenza HA protein induced protective immune responses in cotton rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessCommentary
Pandemic Influenza Vaccines: What did We Learn from the 2009 Pandemic and are We Better Prepared Now?
Vaccines 2020, 8(2), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020211 - 07 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In 2009, a novel A(H1N1) influenza virus emerged with rapid human-to-human spread and caused the first pandemic of the 21st century. Although this pandemic was considered mild compared to the previous pandemics of the 20th century, there was still extensive disease and [...] Read more.
In 2009, a novel A(H1N1) influenza virus emerged with rapid human-to-human spread and caused the first pandemic of the 21st century. Although this pandemic was considered mild compared to the previous pandemics of the 20th century, there was still extensive disease and death. This virus replaced the previous A(H1N1) and continues to circulate today as a seasonal virus. It is well established that vaccines are the most effective method to alleviate the mortality and morbidity associated with influenza virus infections, but the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza pandemic, like all significant infectious disease outbreaks, presented its own unique set of problems with vaccine supply and demand. This manuscript describes the issues that confronted governments, international agencies and industries in developing a well-matched vaccine in 2009, and identifies the key improvements and remaining challenges facing the world as the next influenza pandemic inevitably approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccine Development)
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