The 2009 pandemic H1N1 (A(H1N1)pdm09) virus had a highly divergent hemagglutinin (HA) compared to pre-2009 seasonal H1N1 strains. Most peoples were immunologically naïve to the A(H1N1)pdm09, although hospital workers were exposed early in the pandemic before pandemic vaccines became available. Here, we evaluated how pre-existing antibodies influence the induction of cross-functional HA stalk antibodies following A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccination. Fifty-six healthcare workers vaccinated with AS03 adjuvanted A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine were chosen by their pre-vaccination priming status (primed HI titers ≥ 40 or unprimed < 40). We analyzed the HA head- and stalk-specific serum IgG subclasses at pre- and 21 days post-vaccination. We also assessed the functionality of the HA stalk-specific antibodies to neutralize virus and mediate antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Primed individuals had higher pre-existing HA head- and stalk-specific IgG1, as well as higher ADCC functionality of stalk antibodies. However, following vaccination with the adjuvanted pandemic vaccine, only the quantity of HA head specific IgG1 antibodies were significantly higher than in unprimed individuals. The priming status did not impact upon the cross-reactive HA stalk specific IgG antibodies or their ability to neutralize virus or induce ADCC post-vaccination. In conclusion, a single dose of AS03 adjuvanted pandemic vaccine elicited similar levels of functional antibodies in naïve and primed individuals. These findings are important for understanding the immunological factors that impact or modulate pandemic vaccine responses in humans.
Keywords: Cross-reactive; Immunity; Influenza; Pandemic vaccination; Priming; Stalk antibodies.
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