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Generation of candidate human influenza vaccine strains in cell culture: rehearsing the European response to an H7N1 pandemic threat

Whiteley, A., Major, D., Legastelois, I., Campitelli, L., Donatelli, I., Thompson, C. I., Zambon, M. C., Wood, J. M. and Barclay, W. S. (2007) Generation of candidate human influenza vaccine strains in cell culture: rehearsing the European response to an H7N1 pandemic threat. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, 1 (4). pp. 157-166. ISSN 1750-2640

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2007.00022.x


Background: Although H5N1 avian influenza viruses pose the most obvious imminent pandemic threat, there have been several recent zoonotic incidents involving transmission of H7 viruses to humans. Vaccines are the primary public health defense against pandemics, but reliance on embryonated chickens eggs to propagate vaccine and logistic problems posed by the use of new technology may slow our ability to respond rapidly in a pandemic situation. Objectives: We sought to generate an H7 candidate vaccine virus suitable for administration to humans whose generation and amplification avoided the use of eggs. Methods: We generated a suitable H7 vaccine virus by reverse genetics. This virus, known as RD3, comprises the internal genes of A/Puerto Rico/8/34 with surface antigens of the highly pathogenic avian strain A/Chicken/Italy/13474/99 (H7N1). The multi-basic amino acid site in the HA gene, associated with high pathogenicity in chickens, was removed. Results: The HA modification did not alter the antigenicity of the virus and the resultant single basic motif was stably retained following several passages in Vero and PER. C6 cells. RD3 was attenuated for growth in embryonated eggs, chickens, and ferrets. RD3 induced an antibody response in infected animals reactive against both the homologous virus and other H7 influenza viruses associated with recent infection by H7 viruses in humans. Conclusions: This is the first report of a candidate H7 vaccine virus for use in humans generated by reverse genetics and propagated entirely in mammalian tissue culture. The vaccine has potential use against a wide range of H7 strains.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10114
Uncontrolled Keywords:Influenza, pandemic, reverse genetics, vaccine

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