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Development of cross-protective influenza A vaccines based on cellular responses

Seasonal influenza vaccines provide protection against matching influenza A virus (IAV) strains mainly through the induction of neutralizing serum IgG antibodies. However, these antibodies fail to confer a protective effect against mismatched IAV. This lack of efficacy against heterologous influenza strains has spurred the vaccine development community to look for other influenza vaccine concepts, which have the ability to elicit cross-protective immune responses.

Soema, P.C.; van Riet, E.; Kersten, G.; Amorij, J.P.
01 May 2015
Online publication (DOI)

One of the concepts that is currently been worked on is that of influenza vaccines inducing influenza-specific T cell responses. T cells are able to lyse infected host cells, thereby clearing the virus. More interestingly, these T cells can recognize highly conserved epitopes of internal influenza proteins, making cellular responses less vulnerable to antigenic variability. T cells are therefore cross-reactive against many influenza strains, and thus are a promising concept for future influenza vaccines. Despite their potential, there are currently no T cell-based IAV vaccines on the market. Selection of the proper antigen, appropriate vaccine formulation and evaluation of the efficacy of T cell vaccines remains challenging, both in preclinical and clinical settings. In this review, we will discuss the current developments in influenza T cell vaccines, focusing on existing protein-based and novel peptide-based vaccine formulations. Furthermore, we will discuss the feasibility of influenza T cell vaccines and their possible use in the future.

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