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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 939860, 12 pages
Review Article

Induction of Virus-Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes as a Basis for the Development of Broadly Protective Influenza Vaccines

1Department of Virology, Erasmus Medical Center, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2Viroclinics Biosciences BV, Parklaan 44, 3016 BC Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Received 3 June 2011; Revised 1 July 2011; Accepted 2 August 2011

Academic Editor: Zhengguo Xiao

Copyright © 2011 Marine L. B. Hillaire et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is considerable interest in the development of broadly protective influenza vaccines because of the continuous emergence of antigenic drift variants of seasonal influenza viruses and the threat posed by the emergence of antigenically distinct pandemic influenza viruses. It has been recognized more than three decades ago that influenza A virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes recognize epitopes located in the relatively conserved proteins like the nucleoprotein and that they cross-react with various subtypes of influenza A viruses. This implies that these CD8+ T lymphocytes may contribute to protective heterosubtypic immunity induced by antecedent influenza A virus infections. In the present paper, we review the evidence for the role of virus-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes in protective immunity against influenza virus infections and discuss vaccination strategies that aim at the induction of cross-reactive virus-specific T-cell responses.