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Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2006 Mar-Apr;119(3-4):186-91.

A new approach to an influenza life vaccine: haemagglutinin cleavage site mutants generated by reverse genetics.

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Institut f├╝r Virologie, Universit├Ątsklinikum Giessen und Marburg, Germany.


A promising approach to reduce the impact of influenza is the use of an attenuated life virus as a vaccine. Using reverse genetics, a mutant of strain A/WSN/33 with a modified cleavage site within its haemagglutinin was generated which depends on proteolytic activation by elastase. Unlike the wild-type requiring trypsin, this mutant is strictly dependent on elastase. Both viruses grow equally well in cell culture in the presence of the respective protease. In contrast to the lethal wild-type, the mutant is entirely attenuated in mice at a virus dose of 10(6) pfu. At a dose of 10(5) pfu it induced complete protection against lethal challenge. This approach allows the conversion of any epidemic strain into a genetically homologous attenuated virus.

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