Several universal influenza virus vaccine candidates based on eliciting antibodies against the hemagglutinin stalk domain are in development. Typically, these vaccines induce responses that target group 1 or group 2 hemagglutinins with little to no cross-group reactivity and protection. Similarly, the majority of human anti-stalk monoclonal antibodies that have been isolated are directed against group 1 or group 2 hemagglutinins with very few that bind to hemagglutinins of both groups. Here we review what is known about the human humoral immune response to vaccination and infection with H7 subtype influenza viruses on a polyclonal and monoclonal level. It seems that unlike vaccination with H5 hemagglutinin, which induces antibody responses mostly restricted to the group 1 stalk domain, H7 exposure induces both group 2 and cross-group antibody responses. A better understanding of this phenomenon and the underlying mechanisms might help to develop future universal influenza virus vaccine candidates.
- hemagglutinin stalk
- universal influenza virus vaccine