The antigenic variability of influenza presents many challenges to the development of vaccines and immunotherapeutics. However, it is apparent that there are epitopes on the virus that have evolved to remain largely constant due to their functional importance. These more conserved regions are often hidden and difficult to access by the human immune system but recent efforts have shown that these may be the Achilles heel of the virus through development and delivery of appropriate biological drugs. Amongst these, single domain antibodies (sdAbs) are equipped to target these vulnerabilities of the influenza virus due to their preference for concave epitopes on protein surfaces, their small size, flexible reformatting and high stability. Single domain antibodies are well placed to provide a new generation of robust analytical reagents and therapeutics to support the constant efforts to keep influenza in check.
Keywords: immunotherapy; influenza; nanobodies; single domain antibodies; vaccine potency testing.