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The majority of antibodies induced by influenza neuraminidase (NA), like those against hemagglutinin (HA), are relatively specific to viruses isolated within a limited time window, as seen in serological studies and the analysis of many murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). We report three broadly reactive human MAbs targeting N1 NA. Two were isolated from a young adult vaccinated with trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV), which inhibited N1 NA from viruses isolated from humans over a period of a hundred years. The third antibody, isolated from a child with acute mild H7N9 infection, inhibited both group 1 N1 and group 2 N9 NAs. In addition, the antibodies cross-inhibited the N1 NAs of highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza viruses. These antibodies are protective in prophylaxis against seasonal H1N1 viruses in mice. This study demonstrates that human antibodies to N1 NA with exceptional cross-reactivity can be recalled by vaccination and highlights the importance of standardizing the NA antigen in seasonal vaccines to offer optimal protection.IMPORTANCE Antibodies to the influenza virus NA can provide protection against influenza disease. Analysis of human antibodies to NA lags behind that of antibodies to HA. We show that human monoclonal antibodies against NA induced by vaccination and infection can be very broadly reactive, with the ability to inhibit a wide spectrum of N1 NAs on viruses isolated between 1918 and 2018. This suggests that antibodies to NA may be a useful therapy and that the efficacy of influenza vaccines could be enhanced by ensuring the appropriate content of NA antigen.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





ELLA, H7N9 virus, immune response, immunization, influenza neuraminidase, influenza virus, monoclonal antibodies