Date of this Version
Vaccines 2019, 7, 195
Annually, influenza A virus (IAV) infects ~5–10% of adults and 20–30% of children worldwide. The primary resource to protect against infection is by vaccination. However, vaccination only induces strain-specific and transient immunity. Vaccine strategies that induce cross-protective immunity against the broad diversity of IAV are needed. Here we developed and tested a novel mosaic H1 HA immunogen. The mosaic immunogen was optimized in silico to include the most potential B and T cell epitopes (PBTE) across a diverse population of human H1 IAV. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the mosaic HA localizes towards the non-pandemic 2009 strains which encompasses the broadest diversity in the H1 IAV population. We compared the mosaic H1 immunogen to wild-type HA immunogens and the commercial inactivated influenza vaccine, Fluzone. When analyzed by ELISA, the mosaic immunogen induced stronger antibody responses against all four diverse H1 HA proteins. When analyzing T cell responses, again the mosaic immunogen induced stronger cellular immunity against all 4 diverse HA strains. Not only was the magnitude of T cell responses strongest in mosaic immunized mice, the number of epitopes recognized was also greater. The mosaic vaccinated mice showed strong cross-protection against challenges with three divergent IAV strains. These data show that the mosaic immunogen induces strong cross-protective immunity and should be investigated further as a universal influenza vaccine.