Vaccines used against seasonal influenza are poorly effective against influenza A viruses of novel subtypes that may have pandemic potential. Furthermore, pre(pandemic) influenza vaccines are poorly immunogenic, which can be overcome by the use of adjuvants. A limited number of adjuvants has been approved for use in humans, however there is a need for alternative safe and effective adjuvants that can enhance the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines and that promote the induction of broad-protective T cell responses. Here we evaluated a novel nanoparticle, G3, as an adjuvant for a seasonal trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in a mouse model. The G3 adjuvant was formulated with or without steviol glycosides (DT, for diterpenoid). The use of both formulations enhanced the virus-specific antibody response to all three vaccine strains considerably. The adjuvants were well tolerated without any signs of discomfort. To assess the protective potential of the vaccine-induced immune responses, an antigenically distinct influenza virus strain, A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (A/PR/8/34), was used for challenge infection. The vaccine-induced antibodies did not cross-react with strain A/PR/8/34 in HI and VN assays. However, mice immunized with the G3/DT-adjuvanted vaccine were partially protected against A/PR/8/34 infection, which correlated with the induction of anamnestic virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses that were not observed with the use of G3 without DT. Both formulations induced maturation of human dendritic cells and promoted antigen presentation to a similar extent. In conclusion, G3/DT is a promising adjuvant formulation that not only potentiates the antibody response induced by influenza vaccines, but also induces T cell immunity which could afford broader protection against antigenically distinct influenza viruses.

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Department of Virology

van de Sandt, C., Kreijtz, J., Geelhoed-Mieras, M., Trierum, S. E. V.-. van ., Nieuwkoop, N., van de Vijver, D., … Rimmelzwaan, G. (2014). Novel G3/DT adjuvant promotes the induction of protective T cells responses after vaccination with a seasonal trivalent inactivated split-virion influenza vaccine. Vaccine, 32(43), 5614–5623. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.08.003