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Vaccine. 1993;11(9):957-60.

Protection against a lethal influenza virus challenge by immunization with a haemagglutinin-expressing plasmid DNA.

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Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655.


Direct DNA inoculations have been used to demonstrate that in vivo transfections can be used to elicit protective immune responses. The direct inoculation of an H7 haemagglutinin-expressing DNA protected chickens against lethal challenge with an H7N7 influenza virus. Three-week-old chickens were vaccinated by inoculating 100 micrograms of plasma DNA by each of three routes (intravenous, intraperitoneal and subcutaneous). One month later, chickens were boosted with 100 micrograms of DNA by each of the three routes. At 1-2 weeks postboost, chickens were challenged via the nares with 100 lethal doses of an H7N7 virus. Low to undetectable levels of H7-specific antibodies were present postvaccination and boost. High titres of H7-specific antibodies appeared within 1 week of challenge. In a series of four experiments, 50% (28/56) of the DNA-vaccinated and < 2% (1/67) of the control chickens survived the challenge. This exceptionally simple method of immunization holds high promise for the development of subunit vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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