Background: We have developed a Trivalent DNA vaccine for influenza consisting of three plasmids expressing haemagglutinin from different seasonal influenza virus strains delivered using PMED (particle mediated epidermal delivery). We set out to determine whether this vaccine (with and without a molecular adjuvant DNA Encoded Immunostimulator-Labile Toxin (DEI-LT)) could protect subjects from a controlled influenza virus challenge.
Methods: Healthy adult subjects were screened for susceptibility to infection with influenza A/H3 Panama/2007/99 then vaccinated with 4microg Trivalent influenza DNA vaccine, 2microg Trivalent influenza DNA vaccine plus DEI-LT or placebo. Safety and serological responses to vaccination were assessed and on Day 56 subjects were challenged with A/H3 Panama/2007/99 virus.
Results: Vaccination with 4microg Trivalent or 2microg Trivalent/DEI-LT was well tolerated and induced antibody responses to two of the three influenza virus vaccine strains. Post challenge, subjects in the 4microg Trivalent group (N=27) showed reductions in disease symptoms and viral shedding compared to placebo (N=27), with an overall vaccine efficacy of 41% (95% confidence interval (CI)=?1.5, 67.7) for 'Any illness with or without fever' and 53% for 'Upper respiratory tract infection' (95% CI=8.0, 77.7).
Conclusion: It was concluded that PMED vaccination with 4microg Trivalent influenza DNA vaccine was safe and elicited immunological responses that protected human subjects from influenza; this is the first report of protection of human subjects from disease by DNA vaccination.