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Publications (3)9.59 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Sin Nombre virus (SNV; family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) causes a hemorrhagic fever known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in North America. There have been approximately 200 fatal cases of HPS in the United States since 1993, predominantly in healthy working-age males (case fatality rate 35%). There are no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to prevent or treat HPS. Previously, we reported that hantavirus vaccines based on the full-length M gene segment of Andes virus (ANDV) for HPS in South America, and Hantaan virus (HTNV) and Puumala virus (PUUV) for hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia, all elicited high-titer neutralizing antibodies in animal models. HFRS is more prevalent than HPS (>20,000 cases per year) but less pathogenic (case fatality rate 1-15%). Here, we report the construction and testing of a SNV full-length M gene-based DNA vaccine to prevent HPS. Rabbits vaccinated with the SNV DNA vaccine by muscle electroporation (mEP) developed high titers of neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, hamsters vaccinated three times with the SNV DNA vaccine using a gene gun were completely protected against SNV infection. This is the first vaccine of any kind that specifically elicits high-titer neutralizing antibodies against SNV. To test the possibility of producing a pan-hantavirus vaccine, rabbits were vaccinated by mEP with an HPS mix (ANDV and SNV plasmids), or HFRS mix (HTNV and PUUV plasmids), or HPS/HFRS mix (all four plasmids). The HPS mix and HFRS mix elicited neutralizing antibodies predominantly against ANDV/SNV and HTNV/PUUV, respectively. Furthermore, the HPS/HFRS mix elicited neutralizing antibodies against all four viruses. These findings demonstrate a pan-hantavirus vaccine using a mixed-plasmid DNA vaccine approach is feasible and warrants further development.
    Vaccine 07/2013; · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Andes virus (ANDV) is the predominant cause of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in South America and the only hantavirus known to be transmitted person-to-person. There are no vaccines, prophylactics, or therapeutics to prevent or treat this highly pathogenic disease (case-fatality 35-40%). Infection of Syrian hamsters with ANDV results in a disease that closely mimics human HPS in incubation time, symptoms of respiratory distress, and disease pathology. Here, we evaluated the feasibility of two postexposure prophylaxis strategies in the ANDV/hamster lethal disease model. First, we evaluated a natural product, human polyclonal antibody, obtained as fresh frozen plasma (FFP) from a HPS survivor. Second, we used DNA vaccine technology to manufacture a polyclonal immunoglobulin-based product that could be purified from the eggs of vaccinated ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). The natural "despeciation" of the duck IgY (i.e., Fc removed) results in an immunoglobulin predicted to be minimally reactogenic in humans. Administration of ≥ 5,000 neutralizing antibody units (NAU)/kg of FFP-protected hamsters from lethal disease when given up to 8 days after intranasal ANDV challenge. IgY/IgYΔFc antibodies purified from the eggs of DNA-vaccinated ducks effectively neutralized ANDV in vitro as measured by plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT). Administration of 12,000 NAU/kg of duck egg-derived IgY/IgYΔFc protected hamsters when administered up to 8 days after intranasal challenge and 5 days after intramuscular challenge. These experiments demonstrate that convalescent FFP shows promise as a postexposure HPS prophylactic. Moreover, these data demonstrate the feasibility of using DNA vaccine technology coupled with the duck/egg system to manufacture a product that could supplement or replace FFP. The DNA vaccine-duck/egg system can be scaled as needed and obviates the necessity of using limited blood products obtained from a small number of HPS survivors. This is the first report demonstrating the in vivo efficacy of any antiviral product produced using DNA vaccine-duck/egg system.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35996. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previously we demonstrated that DNA vaccination of nonhuman primates (NHP) with a small subset of vaccinia virus (VACV) immunogens (L1, A27, A33, B5) protects against lethal monkeypox virus challenge. The L1 and A27 components of this vaccine target the mature virion (MV) whereas A33 and B5 target the enveloped virion (EV). Here, we demonstrated that the antibodies produced in vaccinated NHPs were sufficient to confer protection in a murine model of lethal Orthopoxvirus infection. We further explored the concept of using DNA vaccine technology to produce immunogen-specific polyclonal antibodies that could then be combined into cocktails as potential immunoprophylactic/therapeutics. Specifically, we used DNA vaccines delivered by muscle electroporation to produce polyclonal antibodies against the L1, A27, A33, and B5 in New Zealand white rabbits. The polyclonal antibodies neutralized both MV and EV in cell culture. The ability of antibody cocktails consisting of anti-MV, anti-EV, or a combination of anti-MV/EV to protect BALB/c mice was evaluated as was the efficacy of the anti-MV/EV mixture in a mouse model of progressive vaccinia. In addition to evaluating weight loss and lethality, bioimaging technology was used to characterize the spread of the VACV infections in mice. We found that the anti-EV cocktail, but not the anti-MV cocktail, limited virus spread and lethality. A combination of anti-MV/EV antibodies was significantly more protective than anti-EV antibodies alone. These data suggest that DNA vaccine technology could be used to produce a polyclonal antibody cocktail as a possible product to replace vaccinia immune globulin.
    Virology Journal 09/2011; 8:441. · 2.09 Impact Factor