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Med Microbiol Immunol. 2002 Dec;191(3-4):197-201. Epub 2002 Sep 11.

Experience with the clinical development of influenza vaccines for potential pandemics.

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National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, Blanche Lane, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, EN6 3QG, UK.


During normal interpandemic influenza seasons, immune responses to vaccines are quite predictable and meet the licensing criteria of the European Union (EU) Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP). In a pandemic situation, large sections, if not all of the community will be immunologically naïve and therefore new immunisation strategies will be needed. In 1976 and 1977 H1N1 vaccines were prepared and tested clinically. To stimulate 'protective' antibody responses, two doses of vaccine were needed in people below the age of 24 years (no previous experience of H1N1 virus), whereas one conventional dose was adequate in older people. In 1997, the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus caused widespread concern when it infected man, with lethal effects. Due to safety concerns it was necessary to adopt new strategies for vaccine development and one such strategy was to produce vaccine from an avirulent H5N3 virus, A/Duck/Singapore-Q/F119-2/97. Clinical trials of a subunit vaccine prepared from A/Duck/Sing/97 virus revealed that even two doses of twice the normal vaccine concentration (i.e. 30 micro g haemagglutinin) were poorly immunogenic, whereas an H5N3 vaccine adjuvanted with microfluidised emulsion (MF) 59 stimulated antibody levels that complied with CPMP criteria after two half strength doses (i.e. 7.5 micro g haemagglutinin).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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