In the present study the homologous and heterologous type and subtype specific cellular immune response induced by a wild type inactivated whole virus H5N1 Influenza (A/Vietnam/1203/2004) vaccine was evaluated. Two immunizations with the Vero cell derived H5N1 influenza vaccine on Day 0 and Day 21 induced significant H5N1 vaccine specific and H5 haemagglutinin specific clade and cross-clade reactive CD4(+) T cell responses, which were maintained at significant levels for at least 6 months. The H5N1 vaccine specific response cross-reacted with the H1N1, but not with H3N2 or B seasonal Influenza strains. The vaccine significantly increased the number of H5N1 specific and H5 haemagglutinin specific memory B cells, 6 months after the primary immunization, however no H1N1 specific cross-reactivity was observed. Importantly, the inactivated whole virus H5N1 vaccine was just as effective in inducing CD4(+) T cell and memory B cell response in the elderly (60 years or over) as in the adult population (18-59 years).
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