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Selective Capture and Determination of Receptor-Binding Hemagglutinin in Influenza Vaccine Preparations Using a Coupled Receptor-Binding/RP-HPLC Assay

Lorbetskie, Barry, Cunningham, Anna-Maria, Lemieux, Michèle, Durno, Laura, Farnsworth, Aaron, Wang, Junzhi, Li, Changgui, Li, Xuguang, Gilbert, Michel, Sauvé, Simon, Girard, Michel
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.14 pp. 8908-8917
hemagglutinins, immunization, influenza vaccines, neutralizing antibodies, reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography, sialic acid
Influenza vaccine potency is determined by the quantification of immunologically active hemagglutinin capable of eliciting neutralizing antibodies upon immunization. Currently, the single radial immunodiffusion (SRID) method is the standard in vitro potency assay used for lot release of seasonal inactivated influenza vaccines. Despite the proven usage of SRID, significant limitations such as the time-consuming preparation of reagents and limited dynamic range warrant the need for the development of alternative potency assays. Such alternative approaches need to discriminate and quantify relevant hemagglutinin material, provide strain identity, and be independent of strain-specific and seasonal reagents. Herein, we present a proof of concept method that combines the capture of conformationally well-folded hemagglutinin via a sialic acid binding step with the resolving power of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography for strain identity and determination. Details of the protocol for the selective capture of receptor-binding hemagglutinin, its release from the receptor, and its relative determination are presented. This approach was found to provide flexibility for the reagents to be used and was adaptable to varying strain compositions of influenza vaccines. This proof of concept approach was developed as an antibody-independent methodology.