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BioDrugs. 2000 Jan;13(1):35-59.

Intranasal administration of influenza vaccines: current status.

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School of Pharmacy, Aston University, Birmingham, England.


AbstractThis review article focuses on intranasal immunisation against influenza,although it also encompasses antigen uptake and processing in the nasopharyngealpassages, host defence from influenza and current influenza vaccination practices.Improvement of current vaccination strategies is clearly required; current proceduresinvolve repeated annual injections that sometimes fail to protect the recipient. It isenvisaged that nonpercutaneous immunisation would be more attractive to potentialvaccinees, thus improving uptake and coverage. As well as satisfying noninvasivecriteria, intranasal influenza immunisation has a number of perceived immunologicaladvantages over current procedures. Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of thisapproach is its potential to evoke the secretion of haemagglutinin-specific IgAantibodies in the upper respiratory tract, the main site of viral infection. Inactivated influenza vaccines have the advantage that they have a long historyof good tolerability as injected immunogens, and in this respect are possibly morelikely to be licensed than attenuated viruses. Inert influenza vaccines are poormucosal immunogens, requiring several administrations, or prior immunologicalpriming, in order to engender significant antibody responses. The use of vaccinedelivery systems or mucosal adjuvants serves to appreciably improve theimmunogenicity of mucosally applied inactivated influenza vaccines. As is the casewhen they are introduced parenterally, inactivated influenza vaccines are relativelypoor stimulators of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity following nasalinoculation. Live attenuated intranasal influenza vaccines are at a far moreadvanced stage of clinical readiness (phase III versus phase I). With the use of liveattenuated vaccines, it is possible to stimulate mucosal and cell-mediatedimmunological responses of a similar kind to those elicited by natural influenzainfection. In children, recombinant live attenuated cold-adapted influenza viruses arewell tolerated. Moreover, cold-adapted influenza viruses usually stimulate protectiveimmunity following only a single nasal inoculation. Safety of recombinant liveattenuated cold-adapted influenza viruses has also been demonstrated in high riskindividuals with cystic fibrosis, asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.They are not suitable for immunising immunocompromised patients, however, andare poorly efficacious in individuals with pre-existing immunity to strains closelyantigenically matched with the recombinant virus. According to the reviewedliterature, it is apparent that intranasal administration of vaccine as an aerosol issuperior to administration as nose drops. The information reviewed in this papersuggests that nasally administered influenza vaccines could make a substantialimpact on the human and economic cost of influenza.


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