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The development of human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) vaccine has been hampered by the risk of enhanced respiratory disease (ERD) which was induced by highly skewed toward Th2 immune response. In our previous study, we expressed the recombinant pre-F protein using Escherichia coli BL21, called RBF. To verify if the RBF protein could cause ERD, we tested the immunogenicity and safety of RBF with a commercial alum adjuvant (GMP-grade Adju-Phos). RBF alone and RBF/Adju-Phos elicited long-lasting protective antibodies and a cellular immune response in mice after three immunizations. Unfortunately, compared with the mice in RBF group, mice in RBF/Adju-Phos generated a serious Th2 humoral immune response that elicited Th2-mediated lung pathology. From the IL-4+:IFN╬│+ ratio, there was also a robust Th2 cellullar immunologic response in the RBF/Adju-Phos group. This study demonstrates that it may not be enough for RBF to increase the titer of neutralizing antibodies. A balanced immune response must be induced for hRSV vaccine safety.


Hai Li, Hu Ren, Yangzi Zhou, Yan Zhang, Lei Cao, Wenbo Xu. HRSV prefusion-F protein with Adju-Phos adjuvant induces long-lasting Th2-biased immunity in mice. PloS one. 2022;17(1):e0262231

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PMID: 35100303

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