Recently a technology was established based on homologous recombination that allowed the rapid generation of chimeric HA genes of influenza viruses, containing the antigenic determinants obtained from various influenza virus A (H3N2) viruses. In the present report plasmids were generated using a H3 HA vector handle and the hypervariable regions of two genetically distinct influenza A H3N2 viruses, A/Stockholm/7/97 and A/Netherlands/18/94. In a ferret model it was shown that immunisation with plasmid DNA encoding chimeric HA indeed elicited antibody responses specific for the virus from which the hypervariable region with the antigenic determinants were obtained. After DNA-immunisation of the ferrets, protective immunity against infection with influenza virus A/Netherlands/18/94 was evaluated. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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