Research Article

A Highly Conserved Neutralizing Epitope on Group 2 Influenza A Viruses

Science  12 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6044, pp. 843-850
DOI: 10.1126/science.1204839

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Abstract

Current flu vaccines provide only limited coverage against seasonal strains of influenza viruses. The identification of VH1-69 antibodies that broadly neutralize almost all influenza A group 1 viruses constituted a breakthrough in the influenza field. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of a human monoclonal antibody CR8020 with broad neutralizing activity against most group 2 viruses, including H3N2 and H7N7, which cause severe human infection. The crystal structure of Fab CR8020 with the 1968 pandemic H3 hemagglutinin (HA) reveals a highly conserved epitope in the HA stalk distinct from the epitope recognized by the VH1-69 group 1 antibodies. Thus, a cocktail of two antibodies may be sufficient to neutralize most influenza A subtypes and, hence, enable development of a universal flu vaccine and broad-spectrum antibody therapies.

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