Pulmonary vaccination against influenza virus

The development of influenza A virus (IAV) vaccines capable of inducing cytotoxic CD8 T cell responses could potentially provide superior, long-term protection against multiple, heterologous strains of IAV. While prior studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of virus-like particle (VLP) vaccination in generating antibody-mediated protection, what role CD8 T cell immunity plays in overall VLP-mediated protection is less understood. This project is focused on determining if intranasal vaccination can generate protective CD8 T cells in the lungs and if such T cells can provide protection to both homologous and heterologous challenges with IAV. Overall, our results to date demonstrate the ability of influenza protein-containing VLPs to prime IAV-specific CD8 T cell responses, which contribute to protection from homo- and hetero-subtypic influenza A virus infections. These results further suggest that vaccination strategies focused on the development of cross-protective CD8 T cell responses may contribute to the development of “universal” IAV vaccines.