H1N1 Pandemic Vaccines – GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix-Associated Narcolepsy Risk: Study

Antigenic Differences between AS03 Adjuvanted Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic Vaccines: Implications for Pandemrix-Associated Narcolepsy Risk



Narcolepsy results from immune-mediated destruction of hypocretin secreting neurons in hypothalamus, however the triggers and disease mechanisms are poorly understood. Vaccine-attributable risk of narcolepsy reported so far with the AS03 adjuvanted H1N1 vaccination Pandemrix has been manifold compared to the AS03 adjuvanted Arepanrix, which contained differently produced H1N1 viral antigen preparation. Hence, antigenic differences and antibody response to these vaccines were investigated.

Methods and Findings

Increased circulating IgG-antibody levels to Pandemrix H1N1 antigen were found in 47 children with Pandemrix-associated narcolepsy when compared to 57 healthy children vaccinated with Pandemrix. H1N1 antigen of Arepanrix inhibited poorly these antibodies indicating antigenic difference between Arepanrix and Pandemrix. High-resolution gel electrophoresis quantitation and mass spectrometry identification analyses revealed higher amounts of structurally altered viral nucleoprotein (NP) in Pandemrix. Increased antibody levels to hemagglutinin (HA) and NP, particularly to detergent treated NP, was seen in narcolepsy. Higher levels of antibodies to NP were found in children with DQB1*06:02 risk allele and in DQB1*06:02 transgenic mice immunized with Pandemrix when compared to controls.


This work identified 1) higher amounts of structurally altered viral NP in Pandemrix than in Arepanrix, 2) detergent-induced antigenic changes of viral NP, that are recognized by antibodies from children with narcolepsy, and 3) increased antibody response to NP in association of DQB1*06:02 risk allele of narcolepsy. These findings provide a link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy. Although detailed mechanisms of Pandemrix in narcolepsy remain elusive, our results move the focus from adjuvant(s) onto the H1N1 viral proteins.

Click here for the full study and the list of authors.

Articles by: Global Research News

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Centre of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post Global Research articles on community internet sites as long the source and copyright are acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original Global Research article. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected]

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]