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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2009 Apr;16(4):437-43. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00327-08. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Cross-reactive immunity to clade 2 strains of influenza virus A subtype H5N1 induced in adults and elderly patients by Fluval, a prototype pandemic influenza virus vaccine derived by reverse genetics, formulated with a phosphate adjuvant, and directed to clade 1 strains.

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Omninvest Ltd., Pilisborosjeno, Budapest, Hungary.


High fatality rates and multiple cases of transmission of avian H5N1 influenza viruses to humans illustrate the urgent need for an efficacious, cross-protective vaccine against H5N1 strains. Extensive genetic characterization of H5N1 strains has elucidated the natural evolutionary relationship of these strains, linking groups known as clades to a common ancestor. Although the clades and subclades probably differ sufficiently in their antigenic structure to warrant the preparation of different vaccines, there is some evidence that cross-reactive immunity can be afforded. We aimed to assess the immunogenicity of a clade 1 H5N1 (NIBRG-14) whole-virus vaccine with an aluminum phosphate adjuvant and to determine whether it can induce cross-reactive immunity against antigenically drifted clade 2 H5N1 strains, both those derived by reverse genetics and wild-type isolates. A total of 88 (44 adult and 44 elderly) subjects, who received one dose (6 microg) of the vaccine, were studied. As judged by U.S. and European licensing criteria based on hemagglutination inhibition, the subjects developed cross-reactive immunity against all studied H5N1 strains belonging to a clade different from that of the strain utilized to produce the vaccine. Our findings highlight the importance of stockpiling, since cross-immune reactions induced by prepandemic vaccines will likely reduce morbidity and mortality in case of a pandemic.

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