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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 under registration no. NCT00711295.)
PMCID: PMC4054238  PMID: 24739978
2.  Hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin containing high titers of pandemic H1N1 hemagglutinin and neuraminidase antibodies provides dose-dependent protection against lethal virus challenge in SCID mice 
Virology Journal  2014;11:70.
Convalescent plasma and fractionated immunoglobulins have been suggested as prophylactic or therapeutic interventions during an influenza pandemic.
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) preparations manufactured from human plasma collected before the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and post-pandemic hyperimmune (H)-IVIG preparations were characterized with respect to hemagglutination inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN) and neuraminidase-inhibiting (NAi) antibody titers against pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) and seasonal H1N1 (sH1N1) viruses. The protective efficacy of the IVIG and H-IVIG preparations was evaluated in a SCID mouse challenge model.
Substantial levels of HI, MN and NAi antibodies against pH1N1 (GMTs 1:45, 1:204 and 1: 727, respectively) and sH1N1 (GMTs 1:688, 1:4,946 and 1:312, respectively) were present in pre-pandemic IVIG preparations. In post-pandemic H-IVIG preparations, HI, MN and NAi antibody GMTs against pH1N1 were 1:1,280, 1:11,404 and 1:2,488 (28-, 56- and 3.4-fold enriched), respectively, compared to pre-pandemic IVIG preparations (p < 0.001). Post-pandemic H-IVIG (HI titer 1:1,280) provided complete protection from lethality of SCID mice against pH1N1 challenge (100% of mice survived for 29 days post-challenge). Pre-pandemic IVIG (HI titer 1:70) did not provide significant protection against pH1N1 challenge (50% of mice survived 29 days post-challenge compared to 40% survival in the buffer control group). There was a highly significant correlation between circulating in vivo HI and MN antibody titers and survival (p < 0001).
The substantial enrichment of HA- and NA-specific antibodies in H-IVIG and the efficacious protection of SCID mice against challenge with pH1N1 suggests H-IVIG as a promising intervention against pandemic influenza for immunocompromised patients and other risk groups.
PMCID: PMC3996311  PMID: 24739285
H1N1; IVIG; Influenza; Intravenous immunoglobulin; Passive transfer; Neutralizing antibody; Neuraminidase; Hemagglutinin
3.  Human Anti-Aβ IgGs Target Conformational Epitopes on Synthetic Dimer Assemblies and the AD Brain-Derived Peptide 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50317.
Soluble non-fibrillar assemblies of amyloid-beta (Aβ) and aggregated tau protein are the proximate synaptotoxic species associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Anti-Aβ immunotherapy is a promising and advanced therapeutic strategy, but the precise Aβ species to target is not yet known. Previously, we and others have shown that natural human IgGs (NAbs) target diverse Aβ conformers and have therapeutic potential. We now demonstrate that these antibodies bound with nM avidity to conformational epitopes on plate-immobilized synthetic Aβ dimer assemblies, including synaptotoxic protofibrils, and targeted these conformers in solution. Importantly, NAbs also recognized Aβ extracted from the water-soluble phase of human AD brain, including species that migrated on denaturing PAGE as SDS-stable dimers. The critical reliance on Aβ’s conformational state for NAb binding, and not a linear sequence epitope, was confirmed by the antibody’s nM reactivity with plate-immobilized protofibrills, and weak uM binding to synthetic Aβ monomers and peptide fragments. The antibody’s lack of reactivity against a linear sequence epitope was confirmed by our ability to isolate anti-Aβ NAbs from intravenous immunoglobulin using affinity matrices, immunoglobulin light chain fibrils and Cibacron blue, which had no sequence similarity with the peptide. These findings suggest that further investigations on the molecular basis and the therapeutic/diagnostic potential of anti-Aβ NAbs are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3507685  PMID: 23209707
4.  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. NCT00566345.
PMCID: PMC3297649  PMID: 22267715
5.  H5N1 Whole-Virus Vaccine Induces Neutralizing Antibodies in Humans Which Are Protective in a Mouse Passive Transfer Model 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23791.
Vero cell culture-derived whole-virus H5N1 vaccines have been extensively tested in clinical trials and consistently demonstrated to be safe and immunogenic; however, clinical efficacy is difficult to evaluate in the absence of wide-spread human disease. A lethal mouse model has been utilized which allows investigation of the protective efficacy of active vaccination or passive transfer of vaccine induced sera following lethal H5N1 challenge.
We used passive transfer of immune sera to investigate antibody-mediated protection elicited by a Vero cell-derived, non-adjuvanted inactivated whole-virus H5N1 vaccine. Mice were injected intravenously with H5N1 vaccine-induced rodent or human immune sera and subsequently challenged with a lethal dose of wild-type H5N1 virus.
Passive transfer of H5N1 vaccine-induced mouse, guinea pig and human immune sera provided dose-dependent protection of recipient mice against lethal challenge with wild-type H5N1 virus. Protective dose fifty values for serum H5N1 neutralizing antibody titers were calculated to be ≤1∶11 for all immune sera, independently of source species.
These data underpin the confidence that the Vero cell culture-derived, whole-virus H5N1 vaccine will be effective in a pandemic situation and support the use of neutralizing serum antibody titers as a correlate of protection for H5N1 vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3158096  PMID: 21876771
6.  Vectors Based on Modified Vaccinia Ankara Expressing Influenza H5N1 Hemagglutinin Induce Substantial Cross-Clade Protective Immunity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16247.
New highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses are continuing to evolve with a potential threat for an influenza pandemic. So far, the H5N1 influenza viruses have not widely circulated in humans and therefore constitute a high risk for the non immune population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cross-protective potential of the hemagglutinins of five H5N1 strains of divergent clades using a live attenuated modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector vaccine.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The replication-deficient MVA virus was used to express influenza hemagglutinin (HA) proteins. Specifically, recombinant MVA viruses expressing the HA genes of the clade 1 virus A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (VN/1203), the clade 2.1.3 virus A/Indonesia/5/2005 (IN5/05), the clade 2.2 viruses A/turkey/Turkey/1/2005 (TT01/05) and A/chicken/Egypt/3/2006 (CE/06), and the clade 2.3.4 virus A/Anhui/1/2005 (AH1/05) were constructed. These experimental live vaccines were assessed in a lethal mouse model. Mice vaccinated with the VN/1203 hemagglutinin-expressing MVA induced excellent protection against all the above mentioned clades. Also mice vaccinated with the IN5/05 HA expressing MVA induced substantial protection against homologous and heterologous AH1/05 challenge. After vaccination with the CE/06 HA expressing MVA, mice were fully protected against clade 2.2 challenge and partially protected against challenge of other clades. Mice vaccinated with AH1/05 HA expressing MVA vectors were only partially protected against homologous and heterologous challenge. The live vaccines induced substantial amounts of neutralizing antibodies, mainly directed against the homologous challenge virus, and high levels of HA-specific IFN-γ secreting CD4 and CD8 T-cells against epitopes conserved among the H5 clades and subclades.
The highest level of cross-protection was induced by the HA derived from the VN/1203 strain, suggesting that pandemic H5 vaccines utilizing MVA vector technology, should be based on the VN/1203 hemagglutinin. Furthermore, the recombinant MVA-HA-VN, as characterized in the present study, would be a promising candidate for such a vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3026016  PMID: 21283631
7.  A Whole Virus Pandemic Influenza H1N1 Vaccine Is Highly Immunogenic and Protective in Active Immunization and Passive Protection Mouse Models 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9349.
The recent emergence and rapid spread of a novel swine-derived H1N1 influenza virus has resulted in the first influenza pandemic of this century. Monovalent vaccines have undergone preclinical and clinical development prior to initiation of mass immunization campaigns. We have carried out a series of immunogenicity and protection studies following active immunization of mice, which indicate that a whole virus, nonadjuvanted vaccine is immunogenic at low doses and protects against live virus challenge. The immunogenicity in this model was comparable to that of a whole virus H5N1 vaccine, which had previously been demonstrated to induce high levels of seroprotection in clinical studies. The efficacy of the H1N1 pandemic vaccine in protecting against live virus challenge was also seen to be equivalent to that of the H5N1 vaccine. The protective efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine was also confirmed using a severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mouse model. It was demonstrated that mouse and guinea pig immune sera elicited following active H1N1 vaccination resulted in 100% protection of SCID mice following passive transfer of immune sera and lethal challenge. The immune responses to a whole virus pandemic H1N1 and a split seasonal H1N1 vaccine were also compared in this study. It was demonstrated that the whole virus vaccine induced a balanced Th-1 and Th-2 response in mice, whereas the split vaccine induced mainly a Th-2 response and only minimal levels of Th-1 responses. These data supported the initiation of clinical studies with the same low doses of whole virus vaccine that had previously been demonstrated to be immunogenic in clinical studies with a whole virus H5N1 vaccine.
PMCID: PMC2826398  PMID: 20186321

Results 1-7 (7)