Reproducibility of serology assays for pandemic influenza H1N1: collaborative study to evaluate a candidate WHO International Standard.
ABSTRACT Haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) and virus neutralisation (VN) assays are used to evaluate immunogenicity of pandemic H1N1 vaccines; however these bioassays are poorly standardised leading to inter-laboratory variation. A candidate International Standard (IS) for antibody to H1N1 pdm virus (09/194) was prepared from pooled sera of subjects who had either recovered from H1N1 pdm infection or who had been immunised with an adjuvanted subunit vaccine prepared from reassortant virus NYMC X-179A (derived from A/California/7/2009 virus). Ten laboratories from seven countries tested the candidate IS, 09/194 and a panel of human sera by HI and VN using the A/California/7/2009 virus (six laboratories) and/or the reassortant virus NYMC X-179A (ten laboratories). As expected, the inter-laboratory variability for HI and VN assay results was high. For results of antibody tests to NYMC X-179A, the % geometric coefficient of variation (%GCV) for 09/194 between laboratories was 83% for HI and 192% for VN. For tests of all sera, the median %GCV ranged from 95 to 345% for HI (80-fold variation) and 204 to 383% for VN (109-fold variation), but for the titres relative to 09/194 the median %GCV was much reduced (HI 34-231%; VN 44-214%). For tests of antibody to the A/California/7/2009 wild type virus there were similar reductions in %GCV when 09/194 was used. These results suggest that 09/194 will be of use to standardise assays of antibody to A/California/7/2009 vaccine and 09/194 has now been established by WHO as an IS for antibody to A/California/7/2009 with an assigned potency of 1300 IU per ml.
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ABSTRACT: Serum antibody responses in humans to inactivated influenza A (H5N1), (H9N2) and A (H7) vaccines have been varied but frequently low, particularly for subunit vaccines without adjuvant despite hemagglutinin (HA) concentrations expected to induce good responses. To help understand the low responses to subunit vaccines, we evaluated influenza A (H5N1), (H9N2), (H7N7) vaccines and 2009 pandemic (H1N1) vaccines for antigen uptake, processing and presentation by dendritic cells to T cells, conformation of vaccine HA in antibody binding assays and gel analyses, HA titers with different red blood cells, and vaccine morphology in electron micrographs (EM). Antigen uptake, processing and presentation of H5, H7, H9 and H1 vaccine preparations evaluated in humans appeared normal. No differences were detected in antibody interactions with vaccine and matched virus; although H7 trimer was not detected in western blots, no abnormalities in the conformation of the HA antigens were identified. The lowest HA titers for the vaccines were <1∶4 for the H7 vaccine and 1∶661 for an H9 vaccine; these vaccines induced the fewest antibody responses. A (H1N1) vaccines were the most immunogenic in humans; intact virus and virus pieces were prominent in EM. A good immunogenic A (H9N2) vaccine contained primarily particles of viral membrane with external HA and NA. A (H5N1) vaccines intermediate in immunogenicity were mostly indistinct structural units with stellates; the least immunogenic A (H7N7) vaccine contained mostly small 5 to 20 nm structures. Antigen uptake, processing and presentation to human T cells and conformation of the HA appeared normal for each inactivated influenza A vaccine. Low HA titer was associated with low immunogenicity and presence of particles or split virus pieces was associated with higher immunogenicity.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e50830. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A microneutralization assay using an ELISA-based endpoint assessment (ELISA-MN) is widely used to measure the serological response to influenza virus infection and vaccination. We have developed an alternative microneutralization assay for influenza virus using a quantitative reverse transcription PCR-based endpoint assessment (qPCR-MN) in order to improve upon technical limitations associated with ELISA-MN. For qPCR-MN, infected MDCK-London cells in 96-well cell-culture plates are processed with minimal steps such that resulting samples are amenable to high-throughput analysis by downstream one-step quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR; SYBR Green chemistry with primers targeting a conserved region of the M1 gene of influenza A viruses). The growth curves of three recent vaccine strains demonstrated that the qRT-PCR signal detected at 6 hours post-infection reflected an amplification of at least 100-fold over input. Using ferret antisera, we have established the feasibility of measuring virus neutralization at 6 hours post-infection, a duration likely confined to a single virus-replication cycle. The neutralization titer for qPCR-MN was defined as the highest reciprocal serum dilution necessary to achieve a 90% inhibition of the qRT-PCR signal; this endpoint was found to be in agreement with ELISA-MN using the same critical reagents in each assay. qPCR-MN was robust with respect to assay duration (6 hours vs. 12 hours). In addition, qPCR-MN appeared to be compliant with the Percentage Law (i.e., virus neutralization results appear to be consistent over an input virus dose ranging from 500 to 12,000 TCID(50)). Compared with ELISA-MN, qPCR-MN might have inherent properties conducive to reducing intra- and inter-laboratory variability while affording suitability for automation and high-throughput uses. Finally, our qRT-PCR-based approach may be broadly applicable to the development of neutralization assays for a wide variety of viruses.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e56023. · 3.73 Impact Factor