H4 influenza viruses have been isolated from birds across the world. In recent years, an H4 influenza virus infection has been confirmed in pigs. Pigs play an important role in the transmission of influenza viruses to human hosts. Therefore, it is important to develop a new vaccine in the case of an H4 influenza virus infection in humans, considering that this virus has a different antigenicity from seasonal human influenza viruses. In this study, after selecting vaccine candidate strains based on their antigenic relation to one of the pig isolates, A/swine/Missouri/A01727926/2015 (H4N6) (MO/15), an inactivated whole-particle vaccine was prepared from A/swan/Hokkaido/481102/2017 (H4N6). This vaccine showed high immunogenicity in mice, and the antibody induced by the vaccine showed high cross-reactivity to the MO/15 virus. This vaccine induced sufficient neutralizing antibodies and mitigated the effects of an MO/15 infection in a mouse model. This study is the first to suggest that an inactivated whole-particle vaccine prepared from an influenza virus isolated from wild birds is an effective countermeasure in case of a future influenza pandemic caused by the H4 influenza virus.
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