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With the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic expanding at increasing speed, development of a safe and effective vaccine remains a high priority. One of the most central vaccine platforms considered is plasmid DNA. However, high doses of DNA and several immunizations are typically needed to achieve detectable T-cell responses. In this study, a Semliki Forest virus replicon DNA vaccine designed for human clinical trials, DREP.HIVA, encoding an antigen that is currently being used in human trials in the context of a conventional DNA plasmid, pTHr.HIVA, was generated. It was shown that a single immunization of DREP.HIVA stimulated HIV-1-specific T-cell responses in mice, suggesting that the poor immunogenicity of conventional DNA vaccines may be enhanced by using viral replicon-based plasmid systems. The results presented here support the evaluation of Semliki Forest virus replicon DNA vaccines in non-human primates and in clinical studies.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Virol

Publication Date





349 - 354


Animals, DNA, Viral, Drug Evaluation, Preclinical, Female, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Replicon, Semliki forest virus, T-Lymphocytes, Vaccination, Vaccines, DNA, Viral Vaccines