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J Virol. 2013 Jul;87(13):7708-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00645-13. Epub 2013 May 1.

Prime/boost immunization with DNA and adenoviral vectors protects from hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection after simultaneous infection with HDV and woodchuck hepatitis virus.

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  • 1Institute of Virology, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany. melanie.fiedler@uni-due.de


Hepatitis D virus (HDV) superinfection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers causes severe liver disease and a high rate of chronicity. Therefore, a vaccine protecting HBV carriers from HDV superinfection is needed. To protect from HDV infection an induction of virus-specific T cells is required, as antibodies to the two proteins of HDV, p24 and p27, do not neutralize the HBV-derived envelope of HDV. In mice, HDV-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses were induced by a DNA vaccine expressing HDV p27. In subsequent experiments, seven naive woodchucks were immunized with a DNA prime and adenoviral boost regimen prior to simultaneous woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) and HDV infection. Five of seven HDV-immunized woodchucks were protected against HDV infection, while acute self-limiting WHV infection occurred as expected. The two animals with the breakthrough had a shorter HDV viremia than the unvaccinated controls. The DNA prime and adenoviral vector boost vaccination protected woodchucks against HDV infection in the setting of simultaneous infection with WHV and HDV. In future experiments, the efficacy of this protocol to protect from HDV infection in the setting of HDV superinfection will need to be proven.

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