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Vaccine. 2011 Oct 13;29(44):7696-703. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.07.133. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Virus aggregating peptide enhances the cell-mediated response to influenza virus vaccine.

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St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Department of Infectious Diseases, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


Given the poor immunogenicity of current H5N1 influenza vaccines, additives and adjuvants remain a viable solution for increasing efficacy. Here, we demonstrate that a 20-amino acid peptide (EB) possessing influenza antiviral activity also enhances the immune response to H5N1 vaccination in mice. The addition of EB to formalin-inactivated whole-virus vaccine induced virion aggregation and these aggregates were readily engulfed by phagocytic cells in vitro. In vivo, mice vaccinated with a suboptimal dose of inactivated vaccine containing EB peptide had reduced morbidity, improved viral clearance, and faster recovery than mice receiving vaccine alone. This phenomenon was not accompanied by an increase in virus-specific antibodies. Instead, cell-mediated immunity was enhanced as demonstrated by increased interferon-γ production from splenocytes. This data demonstrates that the EB peptide may a useful adjuvant for boosting the efficacy of poorly immunogenic influenza vaccines.

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