This molecular and biomedical science research project is exploring a cross-protective influenza vaccine.
Protection against re-infection with homotypic influenza virus is mediated primarily by neutralising antibodies but recovery from newly arisen influenza virus infections requires cytotoxic CD8+ T (Tc) cells.
While neutralising antibodies target mainly the viral surface glycoproteins (HA and NA), which are subject to frequent antigenic variation, influenza-immune Tc cells target the more conserved proteins, such as the viral nucleoprotein (NP) and matrix protein.
Accordingly, any universal influenza vaccine should have the capability of inducing cross-protective Tc cell responses.
We have previously reported that gamma-irradiated influenza A virus preparations can induce cross-reactive Tc cell responses and shown that a single intranasal administration of γ-H1N1 protects mice against lethal avian H5N1 and other heterotypic influenza A infections.
This exciting research project will investigate virus purification, the effect of gamma-irradiation on virus structure, and the ability of gamma-irradiated viruses to induce cytotoxic T cell responses.
Various techniques will be used in this study including flow cytometry, in vivo CTL assay, tissue culturing, animal handling, electron microscopy, virus growing and titration, ELISA, PCR, Western Blot, etc.