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Thesis: The prospects of cross-reactive T cell peptide vaccines as an effective universal influenza A combatant

Nijhof, S.H. (2017) Thesis: The prospects of cross-reactive T cell peptide vaccines as an effective universal influenza A combatant. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Vaccines are the most cost-effective way of preventing influenza A infections. However, most of the current vaccines are based on eliciting an antibody response against the mutation-sensitive HA and NA surface proteins. These proteins differ between strains of influenza and therefore current vaccines cannot elicit a cross-reactive immune response. Peptide vaccines provide a promising way to combat this issue. These vaccines use peptides from conserved regions of the influenza virus and elicit a cross-reactive T cell response over multiple strains of influenza A. Furthermore, this helps in inducing pre-existing immunity to prevent a new emerging influenza strain from causing widespread infections. Also, peptide vaccines can be produced more easily than current vaccines. However, there are multiple challenges in the development of peptide vaccines. Foremost they need to contain conserved peptides. but these peptides can differ in their HLA restriction. Conserved peptides can be found in proteins with a low frequency of mutations like PB1, M1, M2 and NP. For the HLA restriction, peptides can be used that target the globally most frequent HLA types. There are already some peptide vaccines in development that use this approach called M-001, FLU-v and Fp-01.1. These vaccines show to be safe, well tolerated and can induce a cellular immune response. However, populations across the globe differ in which HLA type is most abundant. A new approach that could improve the binding of peptides to these specific HLA types is chemically altering peptides at anchor points. This can help the peptide vaccines in eliciting a stronger immune response at different areas around the globe. Influenza A peptide vaccines should also include peptides for both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to induce an effective cellular response. Moreover, vaccines should contain peptides of multiple proteins as the virus is less likely to escape the immune response and the virus can be targeted at different stages of infection. When these different conditions are met, peptide vaccines can prove to be a very effective combatant of influenza A virus infections. The chemical altering of peptides could provide an effective tool in the further refinement and improvement of the vaccines.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:27
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:27

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