Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Immunization Protects against Lethal Challenge with Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Expressing Murine Interleukin-4

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Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.44). 12/2004; 78(22):12471-9. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.78.22.12471-12479.2004
Source: PubMed


Recent events have raised concern over the use of pathogens, including variola virus, as biological weapons. Vaccination with Dryvax is associated with serious side effects and is contraindicated for many people, and the development of a safer effective smallpox vaccine is necessary. We evaluated an attenuated vaccinia virus, modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), by use of a murine model to determine its efficacy against an intradermal (i.d.) or intranasal (i.n.) challenge with vaccinia virus (vSC8) or a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing murine interleukin-4 that exhibits enhanced virulence (vSC8-mIL4). After an i.d. challenge, 15 of 16 mice who were inoculated with phosphate-buffered saline developed lesions, one dose of intramuscularly administered MVA was partially protective (3 of 16 mice developed lesions), and the administration of two or three doses of MVA was completely protective (0 of 16 mice developed lesions). In unimmunized mice, an i.n. challenge with vSC8 caused a significant but self-limited illness, while vSC8-mIL4 resulted in lethal infections. Immunization with one or two doses of MVA prevented illness and reduced virus titers in mice who were challenged with either vSC8 or vSC8-mIL4. MVA induced a dose-related neutralizing antibody and vaccinia virus-specific CD8+-T-cell response. Mice immunized with MVA were fully protected from a low-dose vSC8-mIL4 challenge despite a depletion of CD4+ cells, CD8+ cells, or both T-cell subsets or an antibody deficiency. CD4+- or CD8+-T-cell depletion reduced the protection against a high-dose vSC8-mIL4 challenge, and the depletion of both T-cell subsets was associated with severe illness and higher vaccinia virus titers. Thus, MVA induces broad humoral and cellular immune responses that can independently protect against a molecularly modified lethal poxvirus challenge in mice. These data support the continued development of MVA as an alternative candidate vaccine for smallpox.

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