A Universal Influenza Nanovaccine for "Mixing Vessel" Hosts Confers Potential Ability to Block Cross-Species Transmission

Influenza A virus (IAV), a deadly zoonotic pathogen, poses a tremendous threat and burden to global health systems. Pigs act as "mixing vessel" hosts to support and generate new pandemic viruses. Preventing the spread of IAV in pigs effectively can delay or even block cross-species transmission. Universal vaccines based on the highly conserved ectodomain of influenza matrix protein 2 (M2e) have been widely reported, but have not been applied due to inadequate protection. Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) causes immunosuppression and promotes swine influenza virus (SIV) infection. Here, M2e is inserted into capsid protein of PCV2 without burying the neutralizing epitopes and self-assembles to form a bivalent nanovaccine. Inoculation with the nanovaccine induces robust M2e- and PCV2-specific immune responses. The nanovaccine confers protection against lethal challenges of IAV from different species in mice, and significantly reduces SIV titers in pigs´ respiratory tract and blocks SIV transmission. These results indicate that the nanovaccine is an economical and promising PCV2 and universal IAV bivalent vaccine, and it will synergistically and powerfully offer potential ability to block IAV cross-species reassortment and transmission.