Inactivation methods for whole influenza vaccine production

Rev Med Virol. 2019 Nov;29(6):e2074. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2074. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


Despite tremendous efforts toward vaccination, influenza remains an ongoing global threat. The induction of strain-specific neutralizing antibody responses is a common phenomenon during vaccination with the current inactivated influenza vaccines, so the protective effect of these vaccines is mostly strain-specific. There is an essential need for the development of next-generation vaccines, with a broad range of immunogenicity against antigenically drifted or shifted influenza viruses. Here, we evaluate the potential of whole inactivated vaccines, based on chemical and physical methods, as well as new approaches to generate cross-protective immune responses. We also consider the mechanisms by which some of these vaccines may induce CD8+ T-cells cross-reactivity with different strains of influenza. In this review, we have focused on conventional and novel methods for production of whole inactivated influenza vaccine. As well as chemical modification, using formaldehyde or β-propiolactone and physical manipulation by ultraviolet radiation or gamma-irradiation, novel approaches, including visible ultrashort pulsed laser, and low-energy electron irradiation are discussed. These two latter methods are considered to be attractive approaches to design more sophisticated vaccines, due to their ability to maintain most of the viral antigenic properties during inactivation and potential to produce cross-protective immunity. However, further studies are needed to validate them before they can replace traditional methods for vaccine manufacturing.

Keywords: formaldehyde; gamma-irradiation; influenza vaccine; low-energy electron irradiation; ultraviolet radiation; visible ultrashort pulsed laser; β-propiolactone.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / immunology*
  • Influenza B virus / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines / biosynthesis*
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / biosynthesis*
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / immunology*
  • Vaccinology / methods*


  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Inactivated