The serum total IgG and IgG subclass and nasal wash IgA and IgG antibody responses of mice to influenza virus A/Hong Kong/68 (H3N2) subunit preparations administered parenterally as a single dose, incorporated either in immune stimulatory compounds (ISCOMs) or liposomes with Freund's Complete Adjuvant, or as an aqueous material, as well as to live, infectious virus were measured by ELISA at 10 days and 3, 5, 7 and 22 weeks after immunisation. The protection of the upper and lower respiratory tracts provided by these preparations against homologous and heterologous challenge infection was assessed. Of the four variously-presented subunit preparations, influenza subunit ISCOMs induced relatively high and persisting levels of each of the different IgG subclasses, particularly IgG2a, throughout the study, and most nearly approached those observed after intranasal infection of mice with infectious virus. Furthermore, nasal wash IgA and IgG antibody levels, particularly at 5 or 7 weeks after immunisation, were also significantly greater in mice given the subunit ISCOM preparation than those induced by other subunit preparations with adjuvant or subunits given alone, and provided protection of both the upper and lower respiratory tracts against challenge as similar to that elicited by infectious virus.


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