Researchers at Georgia State University and Emory University have developed an intranasal influenza vaccine using recombinant hemagglutinin (HA), a protein found on the surface of influenza viruses, as the antigen component of the vaccine.
They also created a two-dimensional nanomaterial (polyethyleneimine-functionalized graphene oxide nanoparticles) and found that it displayed potent adjuvant (immunoenhancing) effects on influenza vaccines delivered intranasally.
“In our study, we reported for the first time that two-dimensional graphene oxide nanomaterials had a potent adjuvant effect in boosting the immune responses of intranasal hemagglutinin (HA) vaccines,” said Dr. Chunhong Dong, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research Fellow in Dr. Baozhong Wang’s lab in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences.
“This study gives new insights into developing high performance intranasal vaccine systems with two-dimensional sheet-like nanoparticles,” Dong said. “The graphene oxide nanoparticles have extraordinary attributes for drug delivery or vaccine development, such as the ultra-large surface area for high-density antigen loading, and the vaccine showed superior immunoenhancing properties in vitro and in vivo. The nanoplatform could be easily adapted for constructing mucosal vaccines for different respiratory pathogens.”
The study, conducted in mice and cell culture, found the nanoparticles significantly enhanced immune responses at mucosal surfaces and throughout the body in mice. The robust immune responses conferred immune protection against influenza virus challenges by homologous (same) virus strains and heterologous (different) virus strains.
The results are also promising because needle-free, intranasal influenza vaccines possess superior logistical advantages over traditional injectable vaccines, such as easy administration with high acceptance for recipients and the avoidance of biohazardous waste.