Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 2022-05-04; 30.5: 2024-2047.

A single-shot adenoviral vaccine provides hemagglutinin stalk-mediated protection against heterosubtypic influenza challenge in mice

Bliss CM, Freyn AW, Caniels TG, Leyva-Grado VH, Nachbagauer R, Sun W, Tan GS, Gillespie VL, McMahon M, Krammer F, Hill AV, Hill AVS, Palese P, Coughlan L

PMID: 34999208


Conventional influenza vaccines fail to confer broad protection against diverse influenza A viruses with pandemic potential. Efforts to develop a universal influenza virus vaccine include refocusing immunity towards the highly conserved stalk domain of the influenza virus surface glycoprotein, hemagglutinin (HA). We constructed a non-replicating adenoviral (Ad) vector, encoding a secreted form of H1 HA, to evaluate HA stalk-focused immunity. The Ad5_H1 vaccine was tested in mice for its ability to elicit broad, cross-reactive protection against homologous, heterologous, and heterosubtypic lethal challenge in a single-shot immunization regimen. Ad5_H1 elicited hemagglutination inhibition (HI) active antibodies (Abs), which conferred 100% sterilizing protection from homologous H1N1 challenge. Furthermore, Ad5_H1 rapidly induced H1-stalk-specific Abs with Fc-mediated effector function activity, in addition to stimulating both CD4 and CD8 stalk-specific T cell responses. This phenotype of immunity provided 100% protection from lethal challenge with a head-mismatched, reassortant influenza virus bearing a chimeric HA, cH6/1, in a stalk-mediated manner. Most importantly, 100% protection from mortality following lethal challenge with a heterosubtypic avian influenza virus, H5N1, was observed following a single immunization with Ad5_H1. In conclusion, Ad-based influenza vaccines can elicit significant breadth of protection in naive animals and could be considered for pandemic preparedness and stockpiling.