A computationally optimized hemagglutinin virus-like particle vaccine elicits broadly reactive antibodies that protect nonhuman primates from H5N1 infection.J Infect Dis. 2012 May 15; 205(10):1562-70.JI
Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses continue to spread via waterfowl, causing lethal infections in humans. Vaccines can prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with pandemic influenza isolates. Predicting the specific isolate that may emerge from the 10 different H5N1 clades is a tremendous challenge for vaccine design.
In this study, we generated a synthetic hemagglutinin (HA) on the basis of a new method, computationally optimized broadly reactive antigen (COBRA), which uses worldwide sequencing and surveillance efforts that are specifically focused on sequences from H5N1 clade 2 human isolates.
Cynomolgus macaques vaccinated with COBRA clade 2 HA H5N1 virus-like particles (VLPs) had hemagglutination-inhibition antibody titers that recognized a broader number of representative isolates from divergent clades as compared to nonhuman primates vaccinated with clade 2.2 HA VLPs. Furthermore, all vaccinated animals were protected from A/Whooper Swan/Mongolia/244/2005 (WS/05) clade 2.2 challenge, with no virus detected in the nasal or tracheal washes. However, COBRA VLP-vaccinated nonhuman primates had reduced lung inflammation and pathologic effects as compared to those that received WS/05 VLP vaccines.
The COBRA clade 2 HA H5N1 VLP elicits broad humoral immunity against multiple H5N1 isolates from different clades. In addition, the COBRA VLP vaccine is more effective than a homologous vaccine against a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus challenge.