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J Immunol Methods. 2008 May 20;334(1-2):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2008.01.017. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

Design and optimization of a multiplex anti-influenza peptide immunoassay.

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Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, USA.


Current flu vaccines are based on killed or attenuated virus vaccines that must be altered each year to include the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes from a strain of virus predicted to predominate in the coming year. A vaccine that could protect against multiple strains of influenza A and B would be a major asset in the fight against flu-related mortality and morbidity. To support development of such a vaccine, we have developed a Flu Multiplex Assay based on a Luminex platform to assess serum antibody levels to two conserved peptides derived from influenza A (M2 protein) and influenza B (hemagglutinin protein). The peptides were synthesized with a biotin label and subsequently coupled to two different LumAvidin microspheres. We then tested various sera against both types of peptide in the multiplex assay format. The data show that sera from Rhesus macaques immunized with a single peptide react only with the homologous peptide while Rhesus macaques immunized with both peptides respond well to both peptides. Additionally, we were able to specifically compete reactivity to both peptides. We have tested serial bleeds from 100 pediatric patients at ages ranging from 16 to 56 weeks as well as single bleeds from over 100 healthy adults. No overall trend in titer relative to pediatric age was detected. Both demographics exhibited a minimal response to either the A/M2 or B/HA0 peptides. However, the average titer for the pediatric serum samples was significantly lower than that found in the adult population. The adult population exhibited a higher prevalence of low reactive samples. Assay reagents and parameters have been optimized and the assay is shown to be repeatable and robust. The assay will be used to support clinical vaccine trials of a bivalent peptide vaccine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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