DNA vaccine against Ebola virus shows potent and long-term efficacy in preclinical studies

October 10, 2018, The Wistar Institute
Ebola virus particles (red) on a larger cell. Credit: NIAID

A novel synthetic DNA vaccine developed based on technology pioneered by scientists at The Wistar Institute Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center offers complete protection from Zaire Ebolavirus (EBOV) infection in promising preclinical research. Study results were published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Ebola virus infection causes a severe hemorrhagic fever that has a 50% fatality rate, according to the World Health Organization. Recent advances have led to the development of promising experimental candidates that may be associated with side effects and/or may not be applicable in specific vulnerable populations, such as children, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. In addition, there is a need to boost these vaccines to provide long-term protection.

Using a unique approach, Wistar scientists designed optimized synthetic DNA vaccine candidates targeting a virus surface protein called glycoprotein. They demonstrated efficacy of the novel and durability of the immune responses in animal models. Importantly, results showed strong immune responses one year after the last dose, supporting the long-term immunogenicity of the vaccine—a particularly challenging area for Ebola vaccines.

"Synthetic non-viral based DNA technology allows for rapid vaccine development by delivery directly into the skin, resulting in consistent, potent and rapid immunity compared to traditional vaccine approaches," said lead researcher David B. Weiner, Ph.D., executive vice president and director of Wistar's Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, and W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Professor in Cancer Research. "An anti-Ebola virus DNA vaccine like this may provide an important new tool for protection, and we are excited to see what future studies will unveil."

The researchers optimized a shorter, dose-sparing, immunization regimen and simplified vaccine administration directly into the skin. This new approach induced rapid and protective immunity from virus challenges. The detected antibody levels were equal or higher to those reported for other vaccines currently being evaluated in the clinic, according to the study.

"The success of intradermal delivery of a low-dose regimen is very encouraging," said Ami Patel, Ph.D., associate staff scientist in the Weiner Lab. "The ultimate goal of our work is to create effective and safe vaccines that are optimized for field use in at-risk areas."

Explore further: Synthetic DNA vaccine effective against influenza A virus subtype

Related Stories

Synthetic DNA vaccine effective against influenza A virus subtype

September 6, 2018
Currently available vaccines for the prevention of seasonal influenza virus infection have limited ability to induce immunity against diverse H3N2 viruses, an influenza A subtype that has led to high morbidity and mortality ...

DNA vaccine targets family of tumor antigens and shows promise for cancer immunotherapy

September 27, 2018
Scientists at The Wistar Institute have implemented a novel structurally designed synthetic DNA vaccine to simultaneously target multiple members of a family of proteins that are specifically overexpressed in several types ...

Novel vaccine strategy produces rapid and long-term protection against Chikungunya virus

March 31, 2016
The Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted through mosquitoes and causes fever and joint pain that can sometimes become severe and disabling. Outbreaks of the virus have already occurred in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and ...

A novel DNA vaccine design improves chances of inducing anti-tumor immunity

February 24, 2017
Scientists at The Wistar Institute and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have devised a novel DNA vaccine approach through molecular design to improve the immune responses elicited against one of the most important cancer antigen ...

DNA-based Zika vaccine is safe and effective at inducing immune response

October 4, 2017
A new generation DNA-based Zika vaccine demonstrated both safety and ability to elicit an immune response against Zika in humans in a phase 1 clinical trial conducted through a partnership among the Perelman School of Medicine ...

Ebola vaccines provide immune responses after one year

March 14, 2017
Immune responses to Ebola vaccines at one year after vaccination are examined in a new study appearing in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Recommended for you

New hope for cystic fibrosis

October 19, 2018
A new triple-combination drug treatment being trialled at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane could increase the life expectancy of patients with cystic fibrosis.

Bug guts shed light on Central America Chagas disease

October 18, 2018
In Central America, Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is spread by the "kissing bug" Triatoma dimidiata. By collecting DNA from the guts of these bugs, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases ...

Rapid genomic sequencing of Lassa virus in Nigeria enabled real-time response to 2018 outbreak

October 18, 2018
Mounting a collaborative, real-time response to a Lassa fever outbreak in early 2018, doctors and scientists in Nigeria teamed up with researchers at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and colleagues to rapidly sequence the ...

Researchers cure drug-resistant infections without antibiotics

October 17, 2018
Biochemists, microbiologists, drug discovery experts and infectious disease doctors have teamed up in a new study that shows antibiotics are not always necessary to cure sepsis in mice. Instead of killing causative bacteria ...

Infectious disease consultation significantly reduces mortality of patients with bloodstream yeast infections

October 17, 2018
In a retrospective cohort study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Infectious Diseases, patients with candidemia—a yeast infection in the bloodstream—had more positive outcomes as they relate ...

How drug resistant TB evolved and spread globally

October 17, 2018
The most common form of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) originated in Europe and spread to Asia, Africa and the Americas with European explorers and colonialists, reveals a new study led by UCL and the Norwegian Institute ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.