Heterosubtypic antibody response elicited with seasonal influenza vaccine correlates partial protection against highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus in human remains a global health concern. Heterosubtypic antibody response between seasonal influenza vaccine and potential pandemic influenza virus has important implications for public health. Previous studies by Corti et al. and by Gioia et al. demonstrate that heterosubtypic neutralizing antibodies against the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus can be elicited with a seasonal influenza vaccine in humans. However, whether such response offers immune protection against highly pathogenic H5N1 virus remained to be determined. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, using a sensitive influenza HA (hemagglutinin) and NA (neuraminidase) pseudotype-based neutralization (PN) assay we first confirmed that low levels of heterosubtypic neutralizing antibody response against H5N1 virus were indeed elicited with seasonal influenza vaccine in humans. We then immunized mice with the seasonal influenza vaccine and challenged them with lethal doses of highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. As controls, we immunized mice with homosubtypic H5N1 virus like particles (VLP) or PBS and challenged them with the same H5N1 virus. Here we show that low levels of heterosubtypic neutralizing antibody response were elicited with seasonal influenza vaccine in mice, which were significantly higher than those in PBS control. Among them 2 out of 27 whose immune sera exhibited similar levels of neutralizing antibody response as VLP controls actually survived from highly pathogenic H5N1 virus challenge. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Therefore, we conclude that low levels of heterosubtypic neutralizing antibody response are indeed elicited with seasonal influenza vaccine in humans and mice and at certain levels such response offers immune protection against severity of H5N1 virus infection.
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Heng Ding, Cheguo Tsai, Fan Zhou, Philippe Buchy, Vincent Deubel, et al.. Heterosubtypic antibody response elicited with seasonal influenza vaccine correlates partial protection against highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2011, 6 (3), pp.e17821. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0017821⟩. ⟨pasteur-00624229⟩

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