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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 12;106(19):7962-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903181106. Epub 2009 Apr 27.

Fast rise of broadly cross-reactive antibodies after boosting long-lived human memory B cells primed by an MF59 adjuvanted prepandemic vaccine.

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  • 1Translational Medicine, Novartis Vaccines, Siena, Italy 53100.


Proactive priming before the next pandemic could induce immune memory responses to novel influenza antigens. In an open-label study, we analyzed B cell memory and antibody responses of 54 adults who received 2 7.5-microg doses of MF59-adjuvanted A/Vietnam/1194/2004 clade 1 (H5N1) vaccine. Twenty-four subjects had been previously primed with MF59-adjuvanted or plain clade 0-like A/duck/Singapore/1997 (H5N3) vaccine during 1999-2001. The prevaccination frequency of circulating memory B cells reactive to A/Vietnam/1194/2004 was low in both primed and unprimed individuals. However, at day 21 after boosting, MF59-adjuvanted primed subjects displayed a higher frequency of H5N1-specific memory B cells than plain-primed or unprimed subjects. The immune memory was rapidly mobilized by a single vaccine administration and resulted in high titers of neutralizing antibodies to antigenically diverse clade 0, 1, and 2 H5N1 viruses already at day 7. In general, postvaccination antibody titers were significantly higher in primed subjects than in unprimed subjects. Subjects primed with MF59-adjuvanted vaccine responded significantly better than those primed with plain vaccine, most notably in early induction and duration of cross-reacting antibody responses. After 6 months, high titers of cross-reactive antibody remained detectable among MF59-primed subjects. We conclude that distant priming with clade 0-like H5N3 induces a pool of cross-reactive memory B cells that can be boosted rapidly years afterward by a mismatched MF59-adjuvanted vaccine to generate high titers of cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies rapidly. These results suggest that pre-pandemic vaccination strategies should be considered.

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