Electroporation of Synthetic DNA Antigens Offers Protection in Nonhuman Primates Challenged with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus
ABSTRACT Avian influenza highlights the need for novel vaccination techniques that would allow for the rapid design and production of safe and effective vaccines. An ideal platform would be capable of inducing both protective antibodies and potent cellular immune responses. These potential advantages of DNA vaccines remain unrealized due to a lack of efficacy in large animal studies and in human trials. Questions remain regarding the potential utility of cellular immune responses against influenza virus in primates. In this study, by construct optimization and in vivo electroporation of synthetic DNA-encoded antigens, we observed the induction of cross-reactive cellular and humoral immune responses individually capable of providing protection from influenza virus infection in the rhesus macaque. These studies advance the DNA vaccine field and provide a novel, more tolerable vaccine with broad immunogenicity to avian influenza virus. This approach appears important for further investigation, including studies with humans.