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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016 Sep;15(9):1223-34. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2016.1175943. Epub 2016 Apr 25.

DNA-launched live-attenuated vaccines for biodefense applications.

Author information

a Medigen, Inc ., Frederick , MD , USA.
b Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine, Center for Predictive Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases , University of Louisville , Louisville , KY , USA.
c Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development and Department of Microbiology and Immunology , University of Texas Medical Branch , Galveston , TX , USA.


A novel vaccine platform uses DNA immunization to launch live-attenuated virus vaccines in vivo. This technology has been applied for vaccine development against positive-strand RNA viruses with global public health impact including alphaviruses and flaviviruses. The DNA-launched vaccine represents the recombinant plasmid that encodes the full-length genomic RNA of live-attenuated virus downstream from a eukaryotic promoter. When administered in vivo, the genomic RNA of live-attenuated virus is transcribed. The RNA initiates limited replication of a genetically defined, live-attenuated vaccine virus in the tissues of the vaccine recipient, thereby inducing a protective immune response. This platform combines the strengths of reverse genetics, DNA immunization and the advantages of live-attenuated vaccines, resulting in a reduced chance of genetic reversions, increased safety, and improved immunization. With this vaccine technology, the field of DNA vaccines is expanded from those that express subunit antigens to include a novel type of DNA vaccines that launch live-attenuated viruses.


DNA vaccine; Venezuelan equine encephalitis; alphavirus; chikungunya; flavivirus; live-attenuated vaccine; yellow fever

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