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Vaccine. 2012 Oct 12;30(46):6541-6550. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.08.049. Epub 2012 Sep 1.

Inactivated HSV-2 in MPL/alum adjuvant provides nearly complete protection against genital infection and shedding following long term challenge and rechallenge.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0712.
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0712.
Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037.
Contributed equally


Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) infection can result in life-long recurrent genital disease, asymptomatic virus shedding, and transmission. No vaccine to date has shown significant protection clinically. Here, we used a mouse model of genital HSV-2 infection to test the efficacy of a vaccine consisting of whole, formalin-inactivated HSV-2 (FI-HSV2) formulated with monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) and alum adjuvants. Vaccine components were administered alone or as a prime-boost immunization together with DNA vaccines encoding a truncated glycoprotein D2 (gD2t) and two conserved HSV-2 genes necessary for virus replication, UL5 (DNA helicase) and UL30 (DNA polymerase). Our results show: (1) compared with mock immunized controls, mice immunized with FI-HSV2 plus MPL/alum consistently showed protection against disease burden and total viral shedding while the mice immunized with gD2t protein with MPL/alum did not; (2) protection against genital disease and viral replication correlated with the type of boost in a prime-boost immunization with little advantage afforded by a DNA prime; (3) intramuscular (i.m.) immunization with FI-HSV2 in MPL/Alhydrogel adjuvant provided nearly complete protection against vaginal HSV-2 shedding after a lethal intravaginal (i.vag.) short-term challenge and long-term rechallenge; (4) single formulation immunization with DNA vaccines, FI-HSV2, and MPL in an aluminum phosphate (Adju-Phos) adjuvant did not increase protection relative to FI-HSV2/MPL/Adju-Phos alone; and (5) addition of MPL/alum to the FI-HSV2 was required for optimal protection against disease, viral replication, and latent virus load in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Most notably, an optimized vaccine formulation of FI-HSV2 MPL/Alhydrogel given i.m. completely protected against detectable vaginal HSV-2 shedding in the majority of animals and HSV-2 latent DNA in the DRG of all animals.

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