Influenza, the most common infectious disease, poses a great threat to human health because of its highly contagious nature and fast transmissibility, often leading to high morbidity and mortality. Effective vaccination strategies may aid in the prevention and control of recurring epidemics and pandemics associated with this infectious disease. However, antigenic shifts and drifts are major concerns with influenza virus, requiring effective global monitoring and updating of vaccines. Current vaccines are standardized primarily based on the amount of hemagglutinin, a major surface antigen, which chiefly constitutes these preparations along with the varying amounts of neuraminidase (NA). Anti-influenza drugs targeting the active site of NA have been in use for more than a decade now. However, NA has not been approved as an effective antigenic component of the influenza vaccine because of standardization issues. Although some studies have suggested that NA antibodies are able to reduce the severity of the disease and induce a long-term and cross-protective immunity, a few major scientific issues need to be addressed prior to launching NA-based vaccines. Interestingly, an increasing number of studies have shown NA to be a promising target for future influenza vaccines. This review is an attempt to consolidate studies that reflect the strength of NA as a suitable vaccine target. The studies discussed in this article highlight NA as a potential influenza vaccine candidate and support taking the process of developing NA vaccines to the next stage.
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