Enhancing breadth and durability of humoral immune responses in non-human primates with an adjuvanted group 1 influenza hemagglutinin stem antigen

Maarten Swart, Harmjan Kuipers, Fin Milder, Mandy Jongeneelen, Tina Ritschel, Jeroen Tolboom, Leacky Muchene, Joan van der Lubbe, Ana Izquierdo Gil, Daniel Veldman, Jeroen Huizingh, Johan Verspuij, Sonja Schmit-Tillemans, Sven Blokland, Martijn de Man, Ramon Roozendaal, Christopher B Fox, Hanneke Schuitemaker, Martinus Capelle, Johannes P M LangedijkRoland Zahn, Boerries Brandenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Seasonal influenza vaccines must be updated annually and suboptimally protect against strains mismatched to the selected vaccine strains. We previously developed a subunit vaccine antigen consisting of a stabilized trimeric influenza A group 1 hemagglutinin (H1) stem protein that elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies. Here, we further optimized the stability and manufacturability of the H1 stem antigen (H1 stem v2, also known as INFLUENZA G1 mHA) and characterized its formulation and potency with different adjuvants in vitro and in animal models. The recombinant H1 stem antigen (50 µg) was administered to influenza-naïve non-human primates either with aluminum hydroxide [Al(OH)3] + NaCl, AS01B, or SLA-LSQ formulations at week 0, 8 and 34. These SLA-LSQ formulations comprised of varying ratios of the synthetic TLR4 agonist 'second generation synthetic lipid adjuvant' (SLA) with liposomal QS-21 (LSQ). A vaccine formulation with aluminum hydroxide or SLA-LSQ (starting at a 10:25 µg ratio) induced HA-specific antibodies and breadth of neutralization against a panel of influenza A group 1 pseudoviruses, comparable with vaccine formulated with AS01B, four weeks after the second immunization. A formulation with SLA-LSQ in a 5:2 μg ratio contained larger fused or aggregated liposomes and induced significantly lower humoral responses. Broadly HA stem-binding antibodies were detectable for the entire period after the second vaccine dose up to week 34, after which they were boosted by a third vaccine dose. These findings inform about potential adjuvant formulations in clinical trials with an H1 stem-based vaccine candidate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number176
Number of pages14
Journalnpj Vaccines
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • humoral immune responses
  • non-human primates
  • influenza


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