Allen JD, Ross TM. Next generation methodology for updating HA vaccines against emerging human seasonal influenza A(H3N2) viruses. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 2;11(1):4554
While vaccines remain the best tool for preventing influenza virus infections, they have demonstrated low to moderate effectiveness in recent years. Seasonal influenza vaccines typically consist of wild-type influenza A and B viruses that are limited in their ability to elicit protective immune responses against co-circulating influenza virus variant strains. Improved influenza virus vaccines need to elicit protective immune responses against multiple influenza virus drift variants within each season. Broadly reactive vaccine candidates potentially provide a solution to this problem, but their efficacy may begin to wane as influenza viruses naturally mutate through processes that mediates drift. Thus, it is necessary to develop a method that commercial vaccine manufacturers can use to update broadly reactive vaccine antigens to better protect against future and currently circulating viral variants. Building upon the COBRA technology, nine next-generation H3N2 influenza hemagglutinin (HA) vaccines were designed using a next generation algorithm and design methodology. These next-generation broadly reactive COBRA H3 HA vaccines were superior to wild-type HA vaccines at eliciting antibodies with high HAI activity against a panel of historical and co-circulating H3N2 influenza viruses isolated over the last 15 years, as well as the ability to neutralize future emerging H3N2 isolates.
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