NIH Research Festival
Influenza virus infections lead to millions of cases of severe illness each year. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection, yet each year new vaccine formulations must be developed to match circulating influenza virus strains due to constant antigenic changes in the major viral antigen, hemagglutinin (HA). The World Health Organization annually recommends the HA strains to be used in the vaccine of the upcoming flu season, however no guidelines are given with regards to other influenza components. To address this, negative stain electron microscopy and immunogold labeling were used in this study to characterize the components within commercially available vaccines. Different vaccines were compared for the content of other influenza proteins and their molecular architecture. Additionally, immunogold labeling was used to investigate the different HA subtypes within the vaccines. Variations between composition within commercially available vaccines could affect their ability to protect against influenza infection, as different vaccines produce differing antibody titer profiles in mice. Understanding these differences is a first step in learning how to improve current strategies towards a universal influenza vaccine.
Scientific Focus Area: Virology
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021