The type of adjuvant in whole inactivated influenza a virus vaccines impacts vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease

Vaccine. 2018 Oct 1;36(41):6103-6110. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.08.072. Epub 2018 Sep 1.


Influenza A virus (IAV) causes a disease burden in the swine industry in the US and is a challenge to prevent due to substantial genetic and antigenic diversity of IAV that circulate in pig populations. Whole inactivated virus (WIV) vaccines formulated with oil-in-water (OW) adjuvant are commonly used in swine. However, WIV-OW are associated with vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD) when the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase of the vaccine strain are mismatched with the challenge virus. Here, we assessed if different types of adjuvant in WIV vaccine formulations impacted VAERD outcome. WIV vaccines with a swine δ1-H1N2 were formulated with different commercial adjuvants: OW1, OW2, nano-emulsion squalene-based (NE) and gel polymer (GP). Pigs were vaccinated twice by the intramuscular route, 3 weeks apart, then challenged with an H1N1pdm09 three weeks post-boost and necropsied at 5 days post infection. All WIV vaccines elicited antibodies detected using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay against the homologous vaccine virus, but not against the heterologous challenge virus; in contrast, all vaccinated groups had cross-reactive IgG antibody and IFN-γ responses against H1N1pdm09, with a higher magnitude observed in OW groups. Both OW groups demonstrated robust homologous HI titers and cross-reactivity against heterologous H1 viruses in the same genetic lineage. However, both OW groups had severe immunopathology consistent with VAERD after challenge when compared to NE, GP, and non-vaccinated challenge controls. None of the WIV formulations protected pigs from heterologous virus replication in the lungs or nasal cavity. Thus, although the type of adjuvant in the WIV formulation played a significant role in the magnitude of immune response to homologous and antigenically similar H1, none tested here increased the breadth of protection against the antigenically-distinct challenge virus, and some impacted immunopathology after challenge.

Keywords: Adjuvant; Influenza; Swine; VAERD; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Influenza Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / virology
  • Neuraminidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / immunology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Swine
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / therapeutic use*


  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Inactivated
  • Neuraminidase