In 2009 a new influenza A/H1N1 virus strain (“pandemic (H1N1) 2009”, H1N1v) emerged that rapidly spread around the world. The virus is suspected to have originated in swine through reassortment and to have subsequently crossed the species-barrier towards humans. Several cases of reintroduction into pigs have since been reported, which could possibly create a reservoir for human exposure or ultimately become endemic in the pig population with similar clinical disease problems as current swine influenza strains. A soluble trimer of hemagglutinin (HA), derived from the H1N1v, was used as a vaccine in pigs to investigate the extent to which this vaccine would be able to protect pigs against infection with the H1N1v influenza strain, especially with respect to reducing virus replication and excretion. In a group of unvaccinated control pigs, no clinical symptoms were observed, but (histo)pathological changes consistent with an influenza infection were found on days 1 and 3 after inoculation. Live virus was isolated from the upper and lower respiratory tract, with titres up to 106 TCID50 per gram of tissue. Furthermore, live virus was detected in brain samples. Control pigs were shedding live virus for up to 6 days after infection, with titres of up to 105 TCID50 per nasal or oropharyngeal swab. The soluble H1N1v HA trimer diminished virus replication and excretion after a double vaccination and subsequent challenge. Live virus could not be detected in any of the samples taken from the vaccinated pigs. Vaccines based on soluble HA trimers provide an attractive alternative to the current inactivated vaccines.
- genetic reassortment
- a viruses