Chemical-free inactivated whole influenza virus vaccine prepared by ultrashort pulsed laser treatment

Shaw Wei David Tsen, Nisha Donthi, Victor La, Wen Han Hsieh, Yen Der Li, Jayne Knoff, Alexander Chen, Tzyy Choou Wu, Chien Fu Hung, Samuel Achilefu, Kong-Thon Tsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is an urgent need for rapid methods to develop vaccines in response to emerging viral pathogens. Whole inactivated virus (WIV) vaccines represent an ideal strategy for this purpose; however, a universal method for producing safe and immunogenic inactivated vaccines is lacking. Conventional pathogen inactivation methods such as formalin, heat, ultraviolet light, and gamma rays cause structural alterations in vaccines that lead to reduced neutralizing antibody specificity, and in some cases, disastrous T helper type 2-mediated immune pathology. We have evaluated the potential of a visible ultrashort pulsed (USP) laser method to generate safe and immunogenic WIV vaccines without adjuvants. Specifically, we demonstrate that vaccination of mice with laser-inactivated H1N1 influenza virus at about a 10-fold lower dose than that required using conventional formalin-inactivated influenza vaccines results in protection against lethal H1N1 challenge in mice. The virus, inactivated by the USP laser irradiation, has been shown to retain its surface protein structure through hemagglutination assay. Unlike conventional inactivation methods, laser treatment did not generate carbonyl groups in protein, thereby reducing the risk of adverse vaccine-elicited T helper type 2 responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051008
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • influenza virus
  • pathogen inactivation
  • ultrashort pulsed lasers
  • whole inactivated virus vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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