Vaccine Efficacy Induced by 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Virus-Like Particles Differs from that Induced by Split Influenza Virus

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Influenza virus-like particles (VLPs) vaccines are highly immunogenic, showing strong protective efficacy against homologous virus infection compared to split vaccine. However, a comparative efficacy study against heterosubtypic virus infection between VLPs and split vaccine has yet to been reported. In this study, we generated VLPs vaccine containing hemagglutinin (HA) and matrix protein (M1) of the 2009 pandemic H1N1, and investigated the protective efficacies induced by VLPs vaccine and commercial monovalent H1N1 pandemic split vaccine from Sanofi-Pasteur. Mice were intramuscularly immunized with either VLPs vaccine or split vaccine and subsequently challenge-infected with homologous virus (A/California/04/2009, H1N1) or heterosubtypic virus (A/Philippines/82, H3N2) after 4.5 months. VLPs vaccination demonstrated a higher level of protective efficacy against homologous viruses compared to split vaccine, as lessened lung viral loads and minuscule levels of proinflammatory lung cytokines IFN-gamma and IL-6 were observed. Protective efficacies were close to non-existent in VLP-immunized mice challenged with heterosubtypic viruses (H3N2). In contrast, split vaccine showed lower vaccine efficacy against homologous virus than VLP vaccine, but conferred better protection against heterosubtypic viruses through lung viral loads reduction and heightened survival rate. These results indicate that influenza VLPs provide better protective efficacy against homologous virus challenge infection, whereas split vaccine shows better protective efficacy against heterosubtypic virus challenge. Findings from the current study contribute to the rational design of vaccines conferring a broad range of protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-793
Number of pages13
JournalImmunological Investigations
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • Influenza vaccine
  • protection
  • split vaccine
  • virus-like particles


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