Enhanced immunogenicity using an alphavirus replicon DNA vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1.
Nordström EKL., Forsell MNE., Barnfield C., Bonin E., Hanke T., Sundström M., Karlsson GB., Liljeström P.
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.