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1.  Safety and Immunogenicity of a Vero Cell Culture-Derived Whole-Virus H5N1 Influenza Vaccine in Chronically Ill and Immunocompromised Patients 
The development of vaccines against H5N1 influenza A viruses is a cornerstone of pandemic preparedness. Clinical trials of H5N1 vaccines have been undertaken in healthy subjects, but studies in risk groups have been lacking. In this study, the immunogenicity and safety of a nonadjuvanted cell culture-derived whole-virus H5N1 vaccine were assessed in chronically ill and immunocompromised adults. Subjects received two priming immunizations with a clade 1 A/Vietnam H5N1 influenza vaccine, and a subset also received a booster immunization with a clade 2.1 A/Indonesia H5N1 vaccine 12 to 24 months later. The antibody responses in the two populations were assessed by virus neutralization and single radial hemolysis assays. The T-cell responses in a subset of immunocompromised patients were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISPOT). The priming and the booster vaccinations were safe and well tolerated in the two risk populations, and adverse reactions were predominantly mild and transient. The priming immunizations induced neutralizing antibody titers of ≥1:20 against the A/Vietnam strain in 64.2% of the chronically ill and 41.5% of the immunocompromised subjects. After the booster vaccination, neutralizing antibody titers of ≥1:20 against the A/Vietnam and A/Indonesia strains were achieved in 77.5% and 70.8%, respectively, of chronically ill subjects and in 71.6% and 67.5%, respectively, of immunocompromised subjects. The T-cell responses against the two H5N1 strains increased significantly over the baseline values. Substantial heterosubtypic T-cell responses were elicited against the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and seasonal A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and B subtypes. There was a significant correlation between T-cell responses and neutralizing antibody titers. These data indicate that nonadjuvanted whole-virus cell culture-derived H5N1 influenza vaccines are suitable for immunizing chronically ill and immunocompromised populations. (This study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00711295.)
doi:10.1128/CVI.00065-14
PMCID: PMC4054238  PMID: 24739978
2.  Superior In Vitro Stimulation of Human CD8+ T-Cells by Whole Virus versus Split Virus Influenza Vaccines 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103392.
Pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses cause considerable morbidity and mortality in the general human population. Protection from severe disease may result from vaccines that activate antigen-presenting DC for effective stimulation of influenza-specific memory T cells. Special attention is paid to vaccine-induced CD8+ T-cell responses, because they are mainly directed against conserved internal influenza proteins thereby presumably mediating cross-protection against circulating seasonal as well as emerging pandemic virus strains. Our study showed that influenza whole virus vaccines of major seasonal A and B strains activated DC more efficiently than those of pandemic swine-origin H1N1 and pandemic-like avian H5N1 strains. In contrast, influenza split virus vaccines had a low ability to activate DC, regardless which strain was investigated. We also observed that whole virus vaccines stimulated virus-specific CD8+ memory T cells much stronger compared to split virus counterparts, whereas both vaccine formats activated CD4+ Th cell responses similarly. Moreover, our data showed that whole virus vaccine material is delivered into the cytosolic pathway of DC for effective activation of virus-specific CD8+ T cells. We conclude that vaccines against seasonal and pandemic (-like) influenza strains that aim to stimulate cross-reacting CD8+ T cells should include whole virus rather than split virus formulations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103392
PMCID: PMC4114834  PMID: 25072749
3.  A Cell Culture–Derived Influenza Vaccine Provides Consistent Protection Against Infection and Reduces the Duration and Severity of Disease in Infected Individuals 
A Vero cell culture–derived seasonal influenza vaccine provides consistently high levels of protection against cell culture–confirmed infection over a complete influenza season. Influenza symptoms are also less severe and of shorter duration in individuals who become infected despite vaccination.
Background. Current knowledge of the consistency of protection induced by seasonal influenza vaccines over the duration of a full influenza season is limited, and little is known about the clinical course of disease in individuals who become infected despite vaccination.
Methods. Data from a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial undertaken in healthy young adults in the 2008–2009 influenza season were used to investigate the weekly cumulative efficacy of a Vero cell culture–derived influenza vaccine. In addition, the duration and severity of disease in vaccine and placebo recipients with cell culture–confirmed influenza infection were compared.
Results. Vaccine efficacy against matching strains was consistently high (73%–82%) throughout the study, including the entire period of the influenza season during which influenza activity was above the epidemic threshold. Vaccine efficacy was also consistent (68%–83%) when calculated for all strains, irrespective of antigenic match. Vaccination also ameliorated disease symptoms when infection was not prevented. Bivariate analysis of duration and severity showed a significant amelioration of myalgia (P = .003), headache (P = .025), and fatigue (P = .013) in infected vaccinated subjects compared with placebo. Cough (P = .143) and oropharyngeal pain (P = .083) were also reduced in infected vaccinated subjects.
Conclusions. A Vero cell culture–derived influenza vaccine provides consistently high levels of protection against cell culture–confirmed infection by seasonal influenza virus and significantly reduces the duration and severity of disease in those individuals in which infection is not prevented.
Clinical Trials Registration. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00566345.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir959
PMCID: PMC3297649  PMID: 22267715

Results 1-3 (3)