Development of American-Lineage Influenza H5N2 Reassortant Vaccine Viruses for Pandemic Preparedness.Viruses. 2019 06 11; 11(6)V
Novel low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H5N2 viruses hit poultry farms in Taiwan in 2003, and evolved into highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses in 2010. These viruses are reassortant viruses containing HA and NA genes from American-lineage H5N2 and six internal genes from local H6N1 viruses. According to a serological survey, the Taiwan H5N2 viruses can cause asymptomatic infections in poultry workers. Therefore, a development of influenza H5N2 vaccines is desirable for pandemic preparation. In this study, we employed reverse genetics to generate a vaccine virus having HA and NA genes from A/Chicken/CY/A2628/2012 (E7, LPAI) and six internal genes from a Vero cell-adapted high-growth H5N1 vaccine virus (Vero-15). The reassortant H5N2 vaccine virus, E7-V15, presented high-growth efficiency in Vero cells (512 HAU, 107.6 TCID50/mL), and passed all tests for qualification of candidate vaccine viruses. In ferret immunization, two doses of inactivated whole virus antigens (3 μg of HA protein) adjuvanted with alum could induce robust antibody response (HI titre 113.14). In conclusion, we have established reverse genetics to generate a qualified reassortant H5N2 vaccine virus for further development.