The recent emergence of the pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) and H3N2 variant influenza A viruses (IAV) in 2009 and 2011–2012, respectively, highlight the zoonotic potential of influenza viruses and the need for vaccines capable of eliciting heterosubtypic protection. In these studies, single-cycle, propagation-defective replicon particle (RP) vaccines expressing IAV haemagglutinin (HA) and nucleoprotein (NP) genes were constructed and efficacy was evaluated in homologous and heterologous pig challenge studies with the pH1N1 2009 influenza virus (A/California/04/2009). Homologous HA RP vaccination eliminated virus shedding and decreased pulmonary pathology in pigs following pH1N1 2009 challenge. An RP vaccine expressing an H3N2-derived NP gene was able to decrease nasal shedding and viral load following heterosubtypic pH1N1 2009 challenge in pigs. These studies indicate that although homologous vaccination of swine remains the most effective means of preventing IAV infection, other vaccine alternatives do offer a level of heterosubtypic protection, and should continue to be evaluated for their ability to provide broader protection.
- Replicon particle
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