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Needle-free delivery of DNA: Targeting of hemagglutinin to MHC class II molecules protects rhesus macaques against H1N1 influenza.
Mooij, Petra
Grødeland, Gunnveig
Koopman, Gerrit
Andersen, Tor Kristian
Mortier, Daniella
Nieuwenhuis, Ivonne G
Verschoor, Ernst J
Fagrouch, Zahra
Bogers, Willy M
Bogen, Bjarne
Vaccine 2019 02 04;37(6): 817-826

Conventional influenza vaccines are hampered by slow and limited production capabilities, whereas DNA vaccines can be rapidly produced for global coverage in the event of an emerging pandemic. However, a drawback of DNA vaccines is their generally low immunogenicity in non-human primates and humans. We have previously demonstrated that targeting of influenza hemagglutinin to human HLA class II molecules can increase antibody responses in larger animals such as ferrets and pigs. Here, we extend these observations by immunizing non-human primates (rhesus macaques) with a DNA vaccine encoding a bivalent fusion protein that targets influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) to Mamu class II molecules. Such immunization induced neutralizing antibodies and antigen-specific T cells. The DNA was delivered by pain- and needle-free jet injections intradermally. No adverse effects were observed. Most importantly, the immunized rhesus macaques were protected against a challenge with influenza virus.

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