A prime-boost concept using a T-cell epitope-driven DNA vaccine followed by a whole virus vaccine effectively protected pigs in the pandemic H1N1 pig challenge model

Joshua S. Hewitt , Anbu K Karuppannan, Swan Tan , Phillip C Gauger, Patrick G Halbur, Priscilla F. Gerber , Anne S. De Groot, Leonard Moise , Tanja Opriessnig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Influenza A virus (IAV) vaccines in pigs generally provide homosubtypic protection but fail to prevent heterologous infections. In this pilot study, the efficacy of an intradermal pDNA vaccine composed of conserved SLA class I and class II T cell epitopes (EPITOPE) against a homosubtypic challenge was compared to an intramuscular commercial inactivated whole virus vaccine (INACT) and a heterologous prime boost approach using both vaccines. Thirty-nine IAV-free, 3-week-old pigs were randomly assigned to one of five groups including NEG-CONTROL (unvaccinated, sham-challenged), INACT-INACT-IAV (vaccinated with FluSure XP® at 4 and 7 weeks, pH1N1 challenged), EPITOPE-INACT-IAV (vaccinated with PigMatrix EDV at 4 and FluSure XP® at 7 weeks, pH1N1 challenged), EPITOPE-EPITOPE-IAV (vaccinated with PigMatrix EDV at 4 and 7 weeks, pH1N1 challenged), and a POS-CONTROL group (unvaccinated, pH1N1 challenged). The challenge was done at 9 weeks of age and pigs were necropsied at day post challenge (dpc) 5. At the time of challenge, all INACT-INACT-IAV pigs, and by dpc 5 all EPITOPE-INACT-IAV pigs were IAV seropositive. IFNγ secreting cells, recognizing vaccine epitope-specific peptides and pH1N1 challenge virus were highest in the EPITOPE-INACT-IAV at challenge. Macroscopic lung lesion scores were reduced in all EPITOPE-INACT-IAV pigs while INACT-INACT-IAV pigs exhibited a bimodal distribution of low and high scores akin to naïve challenged animals. No IAV antigen in lung tissues was detected at necropsy in the EPITOPE-INACT-IAV group, which was similar to naïve unchallenged pigs and different from all other challenged groups. Results suggest the heterologous prime boost approach using an epitope-driven DNA vaccine followed by an inactivated vaccine was effective against a homosubtypic challenge, and further exploration of this vaccine approach as a practical control measure against heterosubtypic IAV infections is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVaccine
Early online date24 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Influenza A virus
  • pigs
  • DNA vaccine
  • prime boosting
  • intradermal vaccination
  • T cell epitope
  • immunoinformatics

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