To better understand how inhibition of the influenza neuraminidase (NA) protein contributes to protection against influenza, we produced lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with an avian H11 hemagglutinin (HA) and the NA of all influenza A (N1-N9) subtypes and influenza B (B/Victoria and B/Yamagata). These NA viral pseudotypes (PV) possess stable NA activity and can be utilized as target antigens in in vitro assays to assess vaccine immunogenicity. Employing these NA PV, we developed an enzyme-linked lectin assay (pELLA) for routine serology to measure neuraminidase inhibition (NI) titers of reference antisera, monoclonal antibodies and post-vaccination sera with various influenza antigens. We also show that the pELLA is more sensitive than the commercially available NA-Fluor™ in detecting NA inhibition in these samples. Our studies may lead to establishing the protective NA titer that contributes to NA-based immunity. This will aid in the design of superior, longer lasting and more broadly protective vaccines that can be employed together with HA-targeted vaccines in a pre-pandemic approach.
Keywords: ELLA; antisera; immunity; influenza; inhibition; monoclonal antibody; neuraminidase; pseudotype; vaccine.