Pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza viruses continue to represent a public health concern, and several candidate vaccines are currently being developed. It is vital to assess if protective antibodies are induced following vaccination and to characterize the diversity of epitopes targeted. Here we characterized the binding and functional properties of twelve H7-reactive human antibodies induced by a candidate A/Anhui/1/2013 (H7N9) vaccine. Both neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies protected mice in vivo during passive transfer challenge experiments. Mapping the H7 hemagglutinin antigenic sites by generating escape mutant variants against the neutralizing antibodies identified unique epitopes on the head and stalk domains. Further, the broadly cross-reactive non-neutralizing antibodies generated in this study were protective through Fc-mediated effector cell recruitment. These findings reveal important properties of vaccine-induced antibodies and provide a better understanding of the human monoclonal antibody response to influenza in the context of vaccines.
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