[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: H1N1 influenza viruses mutate rapidly, rendering vaccines developed in any given year relatively ineffective in subsequent years. Thus it is necessary to generate new vaccines every year, but this is time-consuming and resource-intensive. Should a highly virulent influenza strain capable of human-to-human transmission emerge, these factors will severely limit the number of people that can be effectively immunised against that strain in time to prevent a pandemic. An adjuvant and mode of administration capable of rendering ordinarily unprotective vaccine doses protective would thus be highly advantageous.
The carbohydrate mannan was conjugated to whole inactivated H1N1 influenza virus at a range of ratios, and mixed with it at a range of ratios, and various doses of the resulting preparations were administered to mice via the intranasal (IN) route. Serum immunity was assessed via antigen-specific IgG ELISA and the haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) assay, and mucosal immunity was assessed via IgA ELISA of bronchio-alveolar lavages.
IN-administered inactivated H1N1 mixed with mannan induced higher serum IgG and respiratory-tract IgA than inactivated H1N1 conjugated to mannan, and HIN1 alone. Adjuvantation was mannan-dose-dependent, with 100 μg of mannan adjuvanting 1 μg of H1N1 more effectively than 10 or 50 μg of mannan. Serum samples from mice immunised with 1 μg H1N1 adjuvanted with 10 μg mannan did not inhibit agglutination of red blood cells (RBCs) at a dilution factor of 10 in the HI assay, but samples resulting from adjuvantation with 50 and 100 μg mannan inhibited agglutination at dilution factors of ≥ 40. Both serum IgG1 and IgG2a were induced by IN mannan-adjuvanted H1N1 vaccination, suggesting the induction of humoral and cellular immunity.
Mixing 100 μg of mannan with 1 μg of inactivated H1N1 adjuvanted the vaccine in mice, such that IN immunisation induced higher serum IgG and respiratory tract IgA than immunisation with virus alone. The serum from mice thus immunised inhibited H1N1-mediated RBC agglutination strongly in vitro. If mannan similarly adjuvants low doses of influenza vaccine in humans, it could potentially be used for vaccine 'dose-sparing' in the event that a vaccine shortage arises from an epidemic involving a highly virulent human-to-human transmissable influenza strain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the respiratory system. Innate immunity provides both a very early defense to influenza virus invasion and an effective control of viral growth. Previous modelling studies of virus-innate immune response interactions have focused on infection with a single virus and, while improving our understanding of viral and immune dynamics, have been unable to effectively evaluate the relative feasibility of different hypothesised mechanisms of antiviral immunity. In recent experiments, we have applied consecutive exposures to different virus strains in a ferret model, and demonstrated that viruses differed in their ability to induce a state of temporary immunity or viral interference capable of modifying the infection kinetics of the subsequent exposure. These results imply that virus-induced early immune responses may be responsible for the observed viral hierarchy. Here we introduce and analyse a family of within-host models of re-infection viral kinetics which allow for different viruses to stimulate the innate immune response to different degrees. The proposed models differ in their hypothesised mechanisms of action of the non-specific innate immune response. We compare these alternative models in terms of their abilities to reproduce the re-exposure data. Our results show that 1) a model with viral control mediated solely by a virus-resistant state, as commonly considered in the literature, is not able to reproduce the observed viral hierarchy; 2) the synchronised and desynchronised behaviour of consecutive virus infections is highly dependent upon the interval between primary virus and challenge virus exposures and is consistent with virus-dependent stimulation of the innate immune response. Our study provides the first mechanistic explanation for the recently observed influenza viral hierarchies and demonstrates the importance of understanding the host response to multi-strain viral infections. Re-exposure experiments provide a new paradigm in which to study the immune response to influenza and its role in viral control.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Epidemiological studies suggest that, following infection with influenza virus, there is a short period during which a host experiences a lower susceptibility to infection with other influenza viruses. This viral interference appears to be independent of any antigenic similarities between the viruses. We used the ferret model of human influenza to systematically investigate viral interference.
Ferrets were first infected then challenged 1-14 days later with pairs of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses circulating in 2009 and 2010.
Viral interference was observed when the interval between initiation of primary infection and subsequent challenge was <1 week. This effect was virus specific and occurred between antigenically related and unrelated viruses. Coinfections occurred when 1 or 3 days separated infections. Ongoing shedding from the primary virus infection was associated with viral interference after the secondary challenge.
The interval between infections and the sequential combination of viruses were important determinants of viral interference. The influenza viruses in this study appear to have an ordered hierarchy according to their ability to block or delay infection, which may contribute to the dominance of different viruses often seen in an influenza season.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 05/2015; DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiv260 · 6.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a purified pool of human antibodies from thousands of donors that is used to prevent or treat primary immune deficiency, several infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases. The antibodies that mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against heterologous influenza strains may be present in IVIG preparations.
We tested 8 IVIG preparations prior to the 2009 H1N1 swine-origin influenza pandemic and 10 IVIG preparations made after 2010 for their ability to mediate influenza-specific ADCC.
ADCC mediating antibodies to A(H1N1)pdm09 hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) were detected in IVIG preparations prior to the 2009-H1N1 pandemic. The HA-specific ADCC targeted both the HA1 and HA2 regions of A(H1N1)pdm09 HA and was capable of recognizing a broad range of HA proteins including those from recent avian influenza strains A(H5N1) and A(H7N9). The low but detectable ADCC recognition of A(H7N9) was likely due to rare individuals in the population contributing cross-reactive antibodies to IVIG.
IVIG preparations contain broadly cross-reactive ADCC mediating antibodies. IVIG may provide at least some level of protection for individuals at high risk of severe influenza disease, especially during influenza pandemics prior to the development of effective vaccines.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 06/2014; 210(11). DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiu334 · 6.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ferret is an excellent model for many human infectious diseases including influenza, SARS-CoV, henipavirus and pneumococcal infections. The ferret is also used to study cystic fibrosis and various cancers, as well as reproductive biology and physiology. However, the range of reagents available to measure the ferret immune response is very limited. To address this deficiency, high-throughput real time RT-PCR TaqMan assays were developed to measure the expression of fifteen immune mediators associated with the innate and adaptive immune responses (IFNα, IFNβ, IFNγ, IL1α, IL1β, IL2, IL4, IL6, IL8, IL10, IL12p40, IL17, Granzyme A, MCP1, TNFα), as well as four endogenous housekeeping genes (ATF4, HPRT, GAPDH, L32). These assays have been optimized to maximize reaction efficiency, reduce the amount of sample required (down to 1ng RNA per real time RT-PCR reaction) and to select the most appropriate housekeeping genes. Using these assays, the expression of each of the tested genes could be detected in ferret lymph node cells stimulated with mitogens or infected with influenza virus in vitro. These new tools will allow a more comprehensive analysis of the ferret immune responses following infection or in other disease states.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Historical records of influenza pandemics demonstrate variability in incidence and severity between waves. The influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic was the first in which many countries implemented strain-specific vaccination to mitigate subsequent seasons. Serosurveys provide opportunity to examine the constraining influence of antibody on population disease experience.
Changes in the proportion of adults seropositive to influenza A(H1N1)pdm09over the 2009/10 (summer) interepidemic period and 2010 (winter) influenza season were measured to determine whether there was a temporal relationship with vaccine distribution and influenza activity, respectively.
Plasma samples were collected from healthy blood donors from seven cities at the end of the first wave (November 2009), and before (March/April 2010) and after (November 2010) the subsequent influenza season.
Haemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays were performed to assess reactivity of plasma against A(H1N1)pdm09, and the proportion seropositive (HI titre ≥ 40) compared over time, by age group and location.
Between the 2009 and 2010 influenza seasons, the seropositive proportion rose from 22% to 43%, an increase observed across all ages and sites. Brisbane alone recorded a significant rise in seropositivity over the 2010 influenza season - from a baseline of 35% to 53%. The seropositive proportion elsewhere was ≥40% pre-season, and did not rise over winter.
A vaccine-associated increase in seropositive proportion preceding the influenza season correlated with low levels of disease activity in winter 2010. These observations support the role of immunisation in mitigating the 'second wave' of A(H1N1)pdm09, with timing critical to ensure sustained herd protection.
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 12/2013; 8(2). DOI:10.1111/irv.12225 · 2.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For in vivo studies of influenza dynamics where within-host measurements are fit with a mathematical model, infectivity assays (e.g. 50% tissue culture infectious dose; TCID50) are often used to estimate the infectious virion concentration over time. Less frequently, measurements of the total (infectious and non-infectious) viral particle concentration (obtained using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction; rRT-PCR) have been used as an alternative to infectivity assays. We investigated the degree to which measuring both infectious (via TCID50) and total (via rRT-PCR) viral load allows within-host model parameters to be estimated with greater consistency and reduced uncertainty, compared with fitting to TCID50 data alone. We applied our models to viral load data from an experimental ferret infection study. Best-fit parameter estimates for the "dual-measurement" model are similar to those from the TCID50-only model, with greater consistency in best-fit estimates across different experiments, as well as reduced uncertainty in some parameter estimates. Our results also highlight how variation in TCID50 assay sensitivity and calibration may hinder model interpretation, as some parameter estimates systematically vary with known uncontrolled variations in the assay. Our techniques may aid in drawing stronger quantitative inferences from in vivo studies of influenza virus dynamics.
PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(5):e64098. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064098 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A virus-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) provide a degree of cross-strain protection that is potentially subverted by mutation. Here we describe the sequential emergence of such variants within CTL epitopes for a persistently infected, immunocompromised infant. Further analysis in immunodeficient and wild-type mice supports the view that CTL escape variants arise frequently in influenza, accumulate with time and revert in the absence of immune pressure under MHCI-mismatched conditions. Viral fitness, the abundance of endogenous CD8(+) T cell responses and T cell receptor repertoire diversity influence the nature of these de novo mutants. Structural characterization of dominant escape variants shows how the peptide-MHCI interaction is modified to affect variant-MHCI stability. The mechanism of influenza virus escape thus looks comparable to that recognized for chronic RNA viruses like HIV and HCV, suggesting that immunocompromised patients with prolonged viral infection could have an important part in the emergence of influenza quasispecies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Yearly vaccination with the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) is recommended since current vaccines induce little cross neutralization to divergent influenza strains. Whether the TIV can induce ADCC responses that can cross-recognize divergent influenza strains is unknown. We immunized 6 influenza-naïve pigtail macaques twice with the 2011-2012 season TIV and then challenged macaques, along with 12 control macaques, serially with H1N1 and H3N2 viruses. We measured ADCC responses in plasma to a panel of H1 and H3 hemagglutinin (HA) proteins and influenza-specific CD8 T cell (CTL) responses using a sensitive MHC-tetramer reagent. The TIV was weakly immunogenic and, although binding antibodies were detected by ELISA, did not induce detectable influenza-specific ADCC or CTLs responses. The H1N1 challenge elicited robust ADCC to both homologous and heterologous H1 HA proteins but not influenza HA proteins from different subtypes (H2-H7). There was no anamnestic influenza-specific ADCC or CTL response in vaccinated animals. The subsequent H3N2 challenge did not induce or boost ADCC either to H1 HA proteins or divergent H3 proteins but did boost CTL responses. ADCC or CTLs responses are not induced by TIV vaccination in influenza-naïve macaques. There was a marked difference in the ability of infection compared to vaccination in inducing cross-reactive ADCC and CTL responses. Improved vaccination strategies are needed to induce broad-based ADCC immunity to influenza.
Journal of Virology 10/2013; 87(24). DOI:10.1128/JVI.01666-13 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic older individuals were partially protected from severe disease. It is not known whether pre-existing antibodies with effector functions such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) contributed to the immunity observed.Methods. We tested sera from 182 individuals aged 1-72 years collected either immediately prior to, or following, the 2009-H1N1 pandemic for ADCC antibodies to the A(H1N1)pdm09 haemagglutinin(HA) protein.Results. A(H1N1)pdm09 HA-specific ADCC antibodies were detected in almost all individuals in the >45 age group (28/31 subjects) prior to the 2009-H1N1 pandemic. Conversely, only approximately half of the individuals aged 1-14 (11/31) and 15-45 (17/31) had cross-reactive ADCC antibodies prior to the 2009-H1N1 pandemic. The A(H1N1)pdm09-specific ADCC antibodies were able to efficiently mediate the killing of influenza-infected respiratory epithelial cells. Further, subjects >45 years of age had higher ADCC to a range of seasonal H1N1 HA proteins, including from the 1918 virus, compared to younger individuals.Conclusions. ADCC antibodies may have contributed to the protection exhibited in older individuals during the 2009-H1N1 pandemic. This work has significant implications for improved vaccination strategies for future influenza pandemics.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 06/2013; DOI:10.1093/infdis/jit294 · 6.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Surveillance data indicate that most circulating A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza viruses have remained antigenically similar since they emerged in humans in 2009. However, antigenic drift is likely to occur in the future in response to increasing population immunity induced by infection or vaccination. In this study, sequential passaging of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus by contact transmission through two independent series of suboptimally vaccinated ferrets resulted in selection of variant viruses with an amino acid substitution (N156K, H1 numbering without signal peptide; N159K, H3 numbering without signal peptide; N173K, H1 numbering from first methionine) in a known antigenic site of the viral HA. The N156K HA variant replicated and transmitted efficiently between naïve ferrets and outgrew wildtype virus in vivo in ferrets in the presence and absence of immune pressure. In vitro, in a range of cell culture systems, the N156K variant rapidly adapted, acquiring additional mutations in the viral HA that also potentially affected antigenic properties. The N156K escape mutant was antigenically distinct from wildtype virus as shown by binding of HA-specific antibodies. Glycan binding assays demonstrated the N156K escape mutant had altered receptor binding preferences compared to wildtype virus, which was supported by computational modeling predictions. The N156K substitution, and culture adaptations, have been detected in human A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses with N156K preferentially reported in sequences from original clinical samples rather than cultured isolates. This study demonstrates the ability of the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus to undergo rapid antigenic change to evade a low level vaccine response, while remaining fit in a ferret transmission model of immunization and infection. Furthermore, the potential changes in receptor binding properties that accompany antigenic changes highlight the importance of routine characterization of clinical samples in human A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is an urgent need for a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine that induces robust mucosal immunity. CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) apply substantial antiviral pressure, but CTLs to individual epitopes select for immune escape variants in both HIV in humans and SIV in macaques. Inducing multiple SIV-specific CTLs may assist in controlling viremia. We vaccinated 10 Mane-A1*08401+ female pigtail macaques with recombinant influenza viruses expressing 3 Mane-A1*08401-restricted SIV-specific CTL epitopes and subsequently challenged the animals, along with 5 controls, intravaginally (Ivag) with SIV(mac251). Seroconversion to the influenza vector resulted and small, but detectable, SIV-specific CTL responses were induced. There was a boost in CTL responses after challenge but no protection from high-level viremia or CD4 depletion was observed. All 3 CTL epitopes underwent a coordinated pattern of immune escape during early SIV infection. CTL escape was more rapid in the vaccinees than in the controls at the more dominant CTL epitopes. Although CTL escape can incur a "fitness" cost to the virus, a putative compensatory mutation 20 amino acids upstream from an immunodominant Gag CTL epitope also evolved soon after the primary CTL escape mutation. We conclude that vaccines based only on CTL epitopes will likely be undermined by rapid evolution of both CTL escape and compensatory mutations. More potent and possibly broader immune responses may be required to protect pigtail macaques from SIV.
Journal of Virology 01/2013; 87(8). DOI:10.1128/JVI.02645-12 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A better understanding of immunity to influenza virus is needed to generate cross-protective vaccines. Engagement of Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) Abs by NK cells leads to killing of virus-infected cells and secretion of antiviral cytokines and chemokines. ADCC Abs may target more conserved influenza virus Ags compared with neutralizing Abs. There has been minimal interest in influenza-specific ADCC in recent decades. In this study, we developed novel assays to assess the specificity and function of influenza-specific ADCC Abs. We found that healthy influenza-seropositive young adults without detectable neutralizing Abs to the hemagglutinin of the 1968 H3N2 influenza strain (A/Aichi/2/1968) almost always had ADCC Abs that triggered NK cell activation and in vitro elimination of influenza-infected human blood and respiratory epithelial cells. Furthermore, we detected ADCC in the absence of neutralization to both the recent H1N1 pandemic strain (A/California/04/2009) as well as the avian H5N1 influenza hemagglutinin (A/Anhui/01/2005). We conclude that there is a remarkable degree of cross-reactivity of influenza-specific ADCC Abs in seropositive humans. Targeting cross-reactive influenza-specific ADCC epitopes by vaccination could lead to improved influenza vaccines.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2013; 190(4). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1201574 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To estimate population attack rates of influenza A(H1N1)pdm2009 in the Southern Hemisphere during June-August 2009, we conducted several serologic studies. We pooled individual-level data from studies using hemagglutination inhibition assays performed in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. We determined seropositive proportions (titer >40) for each study region by age-group and sex in pre- and postpandemic phases, as defined by jurisdictional notification data. After exclusions, the pooled database consisted of, 4,414 prepandemic assays and 7,715 postpandemic assays. In the prepandemic phase, older age groups showed greater seropositive proportions, with age-standardized, community-based proportions ranging from 3.5% in Singapore to 11.9% in New Zealand. In the postpandemic phase, seropositive proportions ranged from 17.5% in Singapore to 30.8% in New Zealand, with highest proportions seen in school-aged children. Pregnancy and residential care were associated with lower postpandemic seropositivity, whereas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Pacific Peoples of New Zealand had greater postpandemic seropositivity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Serological studies can detect infection with a novel influenza virus in the absence of symptoms or positive virology, providing useful information on infection that goes beyond the estimates from epidemiological, clinical and virological data. During the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic, an impressive number of detailed serological studies were performed, yet the majority of serological data were available only after the first wave of infection. This limited the ability to estimate the transmissibility and severity of this novel infection, and the variability in methodology and reporting limited the ability to compare and combine the serological data. Objectives To identify best practices for conduct and standardisation of serological studies on outbreak and pandemic influenza to inform public policy. Methods/Setting An international meeting was held in February 2011 in Ottawa, Canada, to foster the consensus for greater standardisation of influenza serological studies. Results Best practices for serological investigations of influenza epidemiology include the following: classification of studies as pre-pandemic, outbreak, pandemic or inter-pandemic with a clearly identified objective; use of international serum standards for laboratory assays; cohort and cross-sectional study designs with common standards for data collection; use of serum banks to improve sampling capacity; and potential for linkage of serological, clinical and epidemiological data. Advance planning for outbreak studies would enable a rapid and coordinated response; inclusion of serological studies in pandemic plans should be considered. Conclusions Optimising the quality, comparability and combinability of influenza serological studies will provide important data upon emergence of a novel or variant influenza virus to inform public health action.
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 04/2012; 7(2). DOI:10.1111/j.1750-2659.2012.0370a.x · 2.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza spread through the Northern Territory, Australia, during June-August 2009. We performed 2 cross-sectional serologic surveys on specimens from Northern Territory residents, with 445 specimens obtained prepandemic and 1,689 specimens postpandemic. Antibody titers were determined by hemagglutination inhibition against reference virus A/California/7/2009 on serum samples collected opportunistically from outpatients. All specimens had data for patients' gender, age, and address, with patients' indigenous status determined for 94.1%. Protective immunity (titer >40) was present in 7.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.2%-10.1%) of prepandemic specimens and 19.5% (95% CI 17.6%-21.4%) of postpandemic specimens, giving a population-standardized attack rate of 14.9% (95% CI 11.0%-18.9%). Prepandemic proportion of immune persons was greater with increasing age but did not differ by other demographic characteristics. Postpandemic proportion of immune persons was greater in younger groups and around double in indigenous persons. Postpandemic proportion immune was geographically heterogeneous, particularly among remote-living and indigenous groups.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the influenza pandemic of 2009 estimates of symptomatic and asymptomatic infection were needed to guide vaccination policies and inform other control measures. Serological studies are the most reliable way to measure influenza infection independent of symptoms. We reviewed all published serological studies that estimated the cumulative incidence of infection with pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 prior to the initiation of population-based vaccination against the pandemic strain.
We searched for studies that estimated the cumulative incidence of pandemic influenza infection in the wider community. We excluded studies that did not include both pre- and post-pandemic serological sampling and studies that included response to vaccination. We identified 47 potentially eligible studies and included 12 of them in the review. Where there had been a significant first wave, the cumulative incidence of pandemic influenza infection was reported in the range 16%-28% in pre-school aged children, 34%-43% in school aged children and 12%-15% in young adults. Only 2%-3% of older adults were infected. The proportion of the entire population infected ranged from 11%-18%. We re-estimated the cumulative incidence to account for the small proportion of infections that may not have been detected by serology, and performed direct age-standardisation to the study population. For those countries where it could be calculated, this suggested a population cumulative incidence in the range 11%-21%.
Around the world, the cumulative incidence of infection (which is higher than the cumulative incidence of clinical disease) was below that anticipated prior to the pandemic. Serological studies need to be routine in order to be sufficiently timely to provide support for decisions about vaccination.
PLoS ONE 08/2011; 6(8):e21828. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0021828 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After the announcement of a worldwide pandemic in June 2009, a single dose of a monovalent pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A (pH1N1/09) vaccine was advocated for all Australians who were 10 years and older because of excellent immunogenicity trial results for healthy children and adults. Immunocompromised patients have previously been shown to have lower seroconversion rates after routine vaccinations. There is a lack of data concerning the immune response of this patient group after pH1N1/09 vaccination. The aim of this study was to assess the immunogenicity of a pH1N1/09 vaccine in pediatric liver transplant recipients 10 years of age or older. Liver transplant recipients ≥ 10 years were prospectively recruited. All participants were administered a single intramuscular injection of the pH1N1/09 vaccine (15 μg). Serum antibody levels were determined by hemagglutination immediately before and ≥ 6 weeks after vaccination. Clinical and laboratory data (age, time since transplantation, immunosuppression, and lymphocyte counts) were analyzed comparing seroconverters and nonconverters with the Student's t test. A second dose of the vaccine was offered to all those who displayed no seroprotective titers after the first vaccination. Antibody levels were again determined 6 weeks later. Twenty-one of 28 liver transplant patients completed the study. The seroconversion rate was 62% after the first dose and 89.5% after the second dose. At baseline, 7 of 21 patients (33.4%) were already seropositive. Increasing time since transplantation positively correlated with successful seroconversion. In conclusion, a single dose of a pandemic influenza A vaccine does not elicit a reliable immune response in adolescent pediatric liver transplant patients. A second dose of the vaccine is warranted in this group of patients, at least in a pandemic scenario. There is an urgent need to further assess vaccine strategies in this high-risk group.