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J Gen Virol. 2005 Sep;86(Pt 9):2401-10.

Reduced immune responses after vaccination with a recombinant herpes simplex virus type 1 vector in the presence of antiviral immunity.

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  • 1Institute for Immunology, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Goethestrasse 31, 80336 Munich, Germany.


Due to the continuous need for new vaccines, viral vaccine vectors have become increasingly attractive. In particular, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-based vectors offer many advantages, such as broad cellular tropism, large DNA-packaging capacity and the induction of pro-inflammatory responses. However, despite promising results obtained with HSV-1-derived vectors, the question of whether pre-existing virus-specific host immunity affects vaccine efficacy remains controversial. For this reason, the influence of pre-existing HSV-1-specific immunity on the immune response induced with a replication-defective, recombinant HSV-1 vaccine was investigated in vivo. It was shown that humoral as well as cellular immune responses against a model antigen encoded by the vaccine were strongly diminished in HSV-1-seropositive mice. This inhibition could be observed in mice infected with wild-type HSV-1 or with a replication-defective vector. Although these data clearly indicate that pre-existing antiviral host immunity impairs the efficacy of HSV-1-derived vaccine vectors, they also show that vaccination under these constraints might still be feasible.

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