, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 471-483
Date: 22 Sep 2013

Evaluation of neutralizing efficacy of monoclonal antibodies specific for 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus in vitro and in vivo

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Pandemic influenza A virus (H1N1) 2009 poses a serious public-health challenge worldwide. To characterize the neutralizing epitopes of this virus, we generated a panel of eight monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the HA of the A/California/07/2009 virus. The antibodies were specific for the 2009 pdm H1N1 HA, as the antibodies displayed HA-specific ELISA, hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and neutralization activity. One mAb (mAb12) showed significantly higher HAI and neutralizing titers than the other mAbs. We mapped the antigenic epitopes of the HA by characterizing escape mutants of a 2009 H1N1 vaccine strain (NYMC X-179A). The amino acid changes suggested that these eight mAbs recognized HA antigenic epitopes located in the Sa, Sb, Ca1 and Ca2 sites. Passive immunization with mAbs showed that mAb12 displayed more efficient neutralizing activity in vivo than the other mAbs. mAb12 was also found to be protective, both prophylactically and therapeutically, against a lethal viral challenge in mice. In addition, a single injection of 10 mg/kg mAb12 outperformed a 5-day course of treatment with oseltamivir (10 mg/kg/day by gavage) with respect to both prophylaxis and treatment of lethal viral infection. Taken together, our results showed that mouse-origin mAbs displayed neutralizing effectiveness in vitro and in vivo. One mAb in particular (mAb12) recognized an epitope within the Sb site and demonstrated outstanding neutralizing effectiveness.