Development of Eurasian H7N7/PR8 high growth reassortant virus for clinical evaluation as an inactivated pandemic influenza vaccine.Vaccine. 2008 Mar 25; 26(14):1742-50.V
Avian-to-human transmission of the high pathogenicity (HP) H7N7 subtype avian influenza viruses in the Netherlands during 2003 caused zoonotic infections in 89 people, including a case of acute fatal respiratory distress syndrome. Public health emergency preparedness against H7N7 avian influenza viruses with pandemic potential includes the development of vaccine candidate viruses. In order to develop a high growth reassortant vaccine candidate virus, low pathogenicity (LP) A/mallard/Netherlands/12/2000 (H7N3) and A/mallard/Netherlands/2/2000 (H10N7) strains were selected as donors of the H7 haemagglutinin and N7 neuraminidase genes, respectively. The donor viruses exhibited high amino acid sequence homology with the surface glycoproteins of A/Netherlands/219/03 H7N7 virus (NL219), an isolate recovered from the fatal human case. Adhering to the seasonal influenza vaccine licensure regulations, we generated a H7N7/PR8 reassortant containing desired surface glycoprotein genes from the mallard viruses and internal genes of A/Puerto Rico/8/34 human vaccine strain (H1N1). Antigenic analysis revealed that the vaccine candidate virus confers broad antigenic cross-reactivity against contemporary Eurasian and the North American H7 subtype human isolates. Mice immunized with formalin inactivated (FI) H7N7/PR8 whole virus vaccine with or without aluminum hydroxide adjuvant conferred clinical protection from mortality and reduced pulmonary replication of the NL219 challenge virus. The FI H7N7/PR8 whole virus vaccine also afforded cross-protection in mice at the pulmonary level against antigenically distinct North American LP A/Canada/444/04 (H7N3) human isolate. The vaccine candidate virus satisfied the agricultural safety requirements for chickens, proved safe in mice, and has entered in phase-I human clinical trial in the United States.