Human recombinant antibodies against influenza, including H1N1, for the development of diagnostic tests and universal flu vaccines.
Broadly protective antibodies against multiple influenza strains
Influenza spreads swiftly and globally, causing some of the most severe pandemics in the last century. Each year, a few million people are afflicted with a severe influenza infection; however, these numbers can rise during pandemic years. During the 1918 H1N1 infection, over 100 million lives were claimed. These waves of infection are a unique characteristic to influenza because of its rapid evolution and ease of transmission. Seasonal vaccines are available to developed countries, but they are deemed obsolete within a year due to quick mutation rate. There is a high public health interest to develop diagnostic tests to identify infections and produce vaccines that will protect against new influenza strains throughout the years.
Researchers at Emory University developed antibodies against influenza, including strains of H1N1. The majority of neutralizing antibodies available are broadly cross reactive with recent H1N1 strains as well as the highly pathogenic 1918 and avian H1N1. These neutralizing antibodies bound primarily to hemagglutinin (HA), a major glycoprotein found on the surface of an influenza virus. Because these antibodies target a conserved HA region present in many influenza strains, they are an ideal candidates for developing a universal influenza vaccine. In vivo challenge experiments demonstrate that the neutralizing antibodies are able to protect mice exposed to H1N1. These antibodies are promising targets for influenza diagnostic test and vaccine development.
In vivo mouse models do not develop influenza when administered neutralizing antibodies prior to infection or even 3 days after infection.