Assessment of a quadrivalent nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine that protects against group 2 influenza viruses
Combined vaccine formulations targeting not only hemagglutinin but also other influenza virus antigens could form the basis for a universal influenza virus vaccine that has the potential to elicit long-lasting, broadly cross-reactive immune responses. Lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines can be utilized to efficiently target multiple antigens with a single vaccine. Here, we assessed the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP vaccines that contain four influenza A group 2 virus antigens (hemagglutinin stalk, neuraminidase, matrix protein 2, and nucleoprotein) in mice. We found that all vaccine components induced antigen-specific cellular and humoral immune responses after administration of a single dose. While the monovalent formulations were not exclusively protective, the combined quadrivalent formulation protected mice from all challenge viruses, including a relevant H1N1 influenza virus group 1 strain, with minimal weight loss. Importantly, the combined vaccine protected from morbidity at a dose of 125 ng per antigen after a single vaccination in mice. With these findings, we confidently conclude that the nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP platform can be used to elicit protection against a large panel of influenza viruses.
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