Shehata MM, et al. A Recombinant Influenza A/H1N1 Carrying A Short Immunogenic Peptide of MERS-CoV as Bivalent Vaccine in BALB/c Mice. Pathogens. 2019 Dec 2;8(4).
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) became a global human health threat since its first documentation in humans in 2012. An efficient vaccine for the prophylaxis of humans in hotspots of the infection (e.g., Saudi Arabia) is necessary but no commercial vaccines are yet approved. In this study, a chimeric DNA construct was designed to encode an influenza A/H1N1 NA protein which is flanking immunogenic amino acids (aa) 736-761 of MERS-CoV spike protein. Using the generated chimeric construct, a novel recombinant vaccine strain against pandemic influenza A virus (H1N1pdm09) and MERS-CoV was generated (chimeric bivalent 5 + 3). The chimeric bivalent 5 + 3 vaccine strain comprises a recombinant PR8-based vaccine, expressing the PB1, HA, and chimeric NA of pandemic 2009 H1N1. Interestingly, an increase in replication efficiency of the generated vaccine strain was observed when compared to the PR8-based 5 + 3 H1N1pdm09 vaccine strain that lacks the MERS-CoV spike peptide insert. In BALB/c mice, the inactivated chimeric bivalent vaccine induced potent and specific neutralizing antibodies against MERS-CoV and H1N1pdm09. This novel approach succeeded in developing a recombinant influenza virus with potential use as a bivalent vaccine against H1N1pdm09 and MERS-CoV. This approach provides a basis for the future development of chimeric influenza-based vaccines against MERS-CoV and other viruses.
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