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Influenza virus-like particle can accommodate multiple subtypes of hemagglutinin and protect from multiple influenza types and subtypes

Pushko, Peter, Pearce, Melissa B., Ahmad, Attiya, Tretyakova, Irina, Smith, Gale, Belser, Jessica A., Tumpey, Terrence M.
Vaccine 2011 v.29 no.35 pp. 5911-5918
Orthomyxoviridae, ferrets, hemagglutinins, human health, influenza, pandemic, recombinant vaccines, vaccine development, viruses
Despite existing vaccines and specific therapies, epidemics of seasonal influenza annually claim 200,000–500,000 lives worldwide. Pandemic influenza represents an even greater threat, with numerous potentially pandemic viruses circulating in nature. Development of multi-specific vaccines against multiple pandemic or seasonal strains is important for human health and the global economy. Here we report a novel virus-like particle (VLP) platform that contains three hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes. This recombinant vaccine design resulted in the expression of three HA subtypes co-localized within a VLP. Experimental triple-HA VLPs containing HA proteins derived from H5N1, H7N2, and H2N3 viruses were immunogenic and protected ferrets from challenge from all three potentially pandemic viruses. Similarly, VLPs containing HA subtypes derived from seasonal H1N1, H3N2, and type B influenza viruses protected ferrets from three seasonal influenza viruses. We conclude that this technology may represent a novel strategy for rapid development of trivalent seasonal and pandemic vaccines.