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Drs. Hao Shen and Brian Akerley discussed screening for conserved NTHi antigens recognized by T-cells, and Dr. Akerley developed a list of conserved NTHi proteins based on published genomic data as potential target antigens. Dr. Shen screened these proteins and identified conserved protein antigens that are recognized by Th17 during NTHi infection, including protein antigens 0259 and 0264 that are conserved among 97% of NTHi strains.
Dr. Shen showed that immunization with protein antigens 0259 and 0264 induce antigen-specific Th17 cellular responses that recognize different NTHi strains and protect against the lung infection. Therefore, immunization with these protein antigens provide broad protection against infections by different NTHi strains.