Development and improvement of quality control tests for live attenuated vaccines are a high priority because of safety concerns. Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) viruses are 6:2 reassortants containing the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) gene segments from circulating influenza viruses to induce protective immune responses, and the six internal gene segments from a cold-adapted Master Donor Virus (MDV). LAIV candidate viruses for the 2012-2013 seasons, A/Victoria/361/2011-CDC-LV1 (LV1) and B/Texas/06/2011-CDC-LV2B (LV2B), were created by classical reassortment of A/Victoria/361/2011 and MDV-A A/Leningrad/134/17/57 (H2N2) or B/Texas/06/2011 and MDV-B B/USSR/60/69. In an attempt to provide better identity and stability testing for quality control of LV1 and LV2B, sensitive real-time RT-PCR assays (rRT-PCR) were developed to detect the presence of undesired gene segments (HA and NA from MDV and the six internal genes from the seasonal influenza viruses). The sensitivity of rRT-PCR assays designed for each gene segment ranged from 0.08 to 0.8EID50(50% of Egg Infectious Dose) per reaction for the detection of undesired genes in LV1 and from 0.1 to 1EID50per reaction for the detection of undesired genes in LV2B. No undesired genes were detected either before or after five passages of LV1 or LV2B in eggs. The complete genome sequencing of LV1 and LV2B confirmed the results of rRT-PCR, demonstrating the utility of the new rRT-PCR assays to provide the evidence for the homogeneity of the prepared vaccine candidate. © 2013 .
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