Characterization of the influenza specific B-cell response in NHP after vaccination and/or infection

Influenza is estimated to result in infection of 2,5-10% of the world population every year, causing 3-5 million cases of severe illness and 290.000-650.000 deaths. Hemagluttinin (HA) serves as a good vaccination target, but the immunodominant head domain is prone to mutations, requiring the vaccine to be updated yearly. However, antibodies targeting the conserved HA stem domain are more broadly neutralizing and can potentially target and inhibit many influenza viruses. Low levels of these antibodies have been described in humans, but due to complicated exposure history in the human population it can be difficult to distinguish the origin of these antibodies. As such, this project will focus on the origin of these stem-targeting antibodies, their potential affinity maturation and response to homologous-heterologous exposure in naïve non-human primates.

Jacco Bakx