Date of Award

Spring 4-26-2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Victor Huber

Second Advisor

Karen Koster

Third Advisor

Beate Wone


Influenza, Maternal, Transfer, Pigs, Immunity, Vaccine, Universal

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences


Influenza causes high numbers of illnesses and deaths annually (CDC, 2020). Influenza vaccines prevent these complications by reducing the risk of flu illness between 40-60% (CDC, 2021). However, no vaccination exists for infants under six months old so other methods, such as passive immunity, must be explored. To determine how infants can be protected, we tested the passive transfer of a universal influenza vaccine using a pig model and researched the mechanism of transfer. Four pregnant pigs were vaccinated one time with PBS and one time with HA-129 vaccine and four were vaccinated twice with the HA-129 vaccine. After farrowing, piglets were challenged with influenza virus and nasal swabs were taken and analyzed to determine whether piglets were infected. We tested the hypothesis that if vaccinated mother pigs transfer high levels of antibodies to the newborn, then antibodies will protect influenza-challenged offspring from the virus. Our results found higher mean viral titer values for the PBS vaccinated group indicating higher levels of infection. Despite error within research protocols, such as the lack of a true PBS group, we can predict that influenza vaccination of mothers may lead to the protection of piglets. Our research forms a basis for vaccination of pregnant mothers to protect the immunocompromised mother and vulnerable newborn.



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