Pregnant women and neonates represent high-risk groups for influenza infection, and in general have suppressed responses to standard influenza vaccines due to pregnancy-associated immune suppression and immune system immaturity, respectively. We therefore wished to test whether addition of Advax™, a polysaccharide adjuvant based on delta inulin, to an inactivated influenza vaccine (A/H1N1/PR8) administered during pregnancy would safely enhance vaccine immunogenicity and thereby provide improved protection of pregnant mothers and their newborns. Pregnant mice received a single intramuscular injection of β-propiolactone-inactivated H1N1 antigen alone or with Advax adjuvant. Pregnant dams receiving Advax-adjuvanted vaccine exhibited significantly increased serum and breast milk anti-influenza IgG titers. This translated into higher serum anti-influenza IgG titers in the pups of these dams. Complete protection was seen in pups of dams that received Advax-adjuvanted vaccine whereas no survival was seen in pups of control mothers or mothers immunized with unadjuvanted influenza vaccine. Cross-fostering studies confirmed that enhanced protection of pups of dams that received Advax-adjuvanted vaccine was mediated by enhanced transfer of maternal IgG to the pups via breast-feeding. The delta inulin adjuvant was not associated with any reproductive or developmental adverse effects. This study shows that Advax adjuvant was safe when administered with influenza vaccine during pregnancy and provided protection of pups via enhanced breast milk transfer of anti-influenza antibodies, not seen with administration of unadjuvanted vaccine.
- Breast feeding