should be one of the elements assessed as they move through clinical trials and into use.
Cross-protection against multiple influenza A subtypes can be induced in animals by prior infection or vaccination. Multiple viral antigens and multiple immune effector mechanisms can participate.
Mucosal vaccination induces different immune responses than systemic vaccination and is more effective at inducing broad cross-protection to multiple influenza A subtypes in animals.
Broad cross-protection in humans is of unclear potency and duration, but epidemiological data suggest that it may have an impact.
A variety of vaccines may induce broad cross-protection if administered appropriately.
Imperfect vaccine protection is worth having, especially for a virus causing an acute (not latent) infection. It could provide a first line of pandemic defense, to be augmented by subtype- or strain-specific vaccines when available.
“Known Influenza Virus Antigenic Peptides Listed by Restricting Major Histocompatibility Complex Molecules,” Suzanne L Epstein, Jonathan W Yewdell, Jack R Bennink.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza website
World Health Organization fact sheet on influenza
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Roslin Institute, Midlothian, United Kingdom