The advent of the H1N1 influenza pandemic (pH1N1) in 2009 triggered the rapid production of pandemic influenza vaccines, since seasonal influenza vaccines were expected and demonstrated not to provide significant cross-protection against the newly emerged pandemic virus. To increase vaccine production capacity and further evaluate the effectiveness of different candidate pandemic influenza vaccines, the World Health Organization stimulated the evaluation of different vaccination concepts including the use of live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs). Therefore, we have immunized ferrets intranasally with a single dose of pH1N1-LAIV from different manufacturers. They all induced adequate serum HI antibody titers in the ferrets and protected them against intratracheal wild-type pH1N1 virus challenge: pH1N1 virus replication in the upper respiratory tract and lungs was reduced and no disease signs or severe broncho-interstitial pneumonia were observed in any of the vaccinated ferrets. These data together with the relatively efficient production process emphasize the potential of the LAIV concept for pandemic preparedness.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Stittelaar, K., Veldhuis Kroeze, E., Rudenko, L., Dhere, R., Thirapakpoomanunt, S., Kieny, M. P., & Osterhaus, A. (2011). Efficacy of live attenuated vaccines against 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza in ferrets. Vaccine, 29(49), 9265–9270. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.09.049