Suzanne L. Epstein

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Influenza virus infection is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. Current vaccination strategies and antiviral drugs provide limited protection; therefore, new strategies are needed. RNA interference is an effective means of suppressing virus replication in vitro. Here we demonstrate that treatment with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs)(More)
Changes in influenza viruses require regular reformulation of strain-specific influenza vaccines. Vaccines based on conserved antigens provide broader protection. Influenza matrix protein 2 (M2) is highly conserved across influenza A subtypes. To evaluate its efficacy as a vaccine candidate, we vaccinated mice with M2 peptide of a widely shared consensus(More)
Influenza epidemic and pandemic strains cannot be predicted with certainty. Current vaccines elicit antibodies effective against specific strains, but new strategies are urgently needed for protection against unexpected strains. DNA vaccines encoding conserved antigens protect animals against diverse subtypes, but their potency needs improvement. We tested(More)
Immunization against conserved virus components induces broad, heterosubtypic protection against diverse influenza A viruses, providing a strategy for controlling unexpected outbreaks or pandemics until strain-matched vaccines become available. This study characterized immunization to nucleoprotein (NP) and matrix 2 (M2) by DNA priming followed by(More)
Antigenic changes in influenza virus occur gradually, owing to mutations (antigenic drift), and abruptly, owing to reassortment among subtypes (antigenic shift). Availability of strain-matched vaccines often lags behind these changes, resulting in a shortfall in public health. In animal models, cross-protection by vaccines based on conserved antigens does(More)
During a pandemic, influenza vaccines that rely on neutralizing antibodies to protect against matched viruses might not be available early enough. Much broader (heterosubtypic) immune protection is seen in animals. Do humans also have cross-subtype immunity? To investigate this issue, archival records from the Cleveland Family Study, which was conducted(More)
Maturation of dendritic cells (DC) to competent APC is essential for the generation of acquired immunity and is a major function of adjuvants. dsRNA, a molecular signature of viral infection, drives DC maturation by activating TLR3, but the size of dsRNA required to activate DC and the expression patterns of TLR3 protein in DC subsets have not been(More)
Influenza vaccination practice, which is based on neutralizing antibodies, requires being able to predict which viral strains will be circulating. If an unexpected strain, as in the 1997 H5N1 Hong Kong outbreak, or even a pandemic emerges, appropriate vaccines may take too long to prepare. Therefore, strategies based on conserved influenza antigens should(More)
BACKGROUND The sudden emergence of novel influenza viruses is a global public health concern. Conventional influenza vaccines targeting the highly variable surface glycoproteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase must antigenically match the emerging strain to be effective. In contrast, "universal" vaccines targeting conserved viral components could be used(More)
DNA vaccination offers the advantages of viral gene expression within host cells without the risks of infectious virus. Like viral vaccines, DNA vaccines encoding internal influenza virus proteins can induce immunity to conserved epitopes and so may defend the host against a broad range of viral variants. CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) have been(More)