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Application of recombinant hemagglutinin proteins as alternative antigen standards for pandemic influenza vaccines

Choi, Yejin, Kwon, Seong Yi, Oh, Ho Jung, Shim, Sunbo, Chang, Seokkee, Chung, Hye Joo, Kim, Do Keun, Park, Younsang, Lee, Younghee
Biotechnology letters 2017 v.39 no.9 pp. 1375-1380
antigens, hemagglutinins, influenza vaccines, pandemic, recombinant DNA
OBJECTIVES: The single radial immunodiffusion (SRID) assay, used to quantify hemagglutinin (HA) in influenza vaccines, requires reference reagents; however, because centralized production of reference reagents may slow the emergency deployment of vaccines, alternatives are needed. RESULTS: We investigated the production of HA proteins using recombinant DNA technology, rather than a traditional egg-based production process. The HA proteins were then used in an SRID assay as a reference antigen. We found that HA can be quantified in both egg-based and cell-based influenza vaccines when recombinant HAs (rHAs) are used as the reference antigen. Furthermore, we confirmed that rHAs obtained from strains with pandemic potential, such as H5N1, H7N3, H7N9, and H9N2 strains, can be utilized in the SRID assay. The rHA production process takes just one month, in contrast to the traditional process that takes three to four months. CONCLUSIONS: The use of rHAs may reduce the time required to produce reference reagents and facilitate timely introduction of vaccines during emergencies.