Live-vaccinia virus encapsulation in pH-sensitive polymer increases safety of a reservoir-targeted Lyme disease vaccine by targeting gastrointestinal release

Vaccine. 2016 Aug 31;34(38):4507-4513. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.07.059. Epub 2016 Aug 5.


The incidence of Lyme disease has continued to rise despite attempts to control its spread. Vaccination of zoonotic reservoirs of human pathogens has been successfully used to decrease the incidence of rabies in raccoons and foxes. We have previously reported on the efficacy of a vaccinia virus vectored vaccine to reduce carriage of Borrelia burgdorferi in reservoir mice and ticks. One potential drawback to vaccinia virus vectored vaccines is the risk of accidental infection of humans. To reduce this risk, we developed a process to encapsulate vaccinia virus with a pH-sensitive polymer that inactivates the virus until it is ingested and dissolved by stomach acids. We demonstrate that the vaccine is inactive both in vitro and in vivo until it is released from the polymer. Once released from the polymer by contact with an acidic pH solution, the virus regains infectivity. Vaccination with coated vaccinia virus confers protection against B. burgdorferi infection and reduction in acquisition of the pathogen by naïve feeding ticks.

Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi; Encapsulation; Lyme disease; Polymethylacrylate; Reservoir-targeted vaccine; Safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates / chemistry*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antibody Formation
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Drug Compounding
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ixodes / microbiology
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control*
  • Lyme Disease / transmission
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Particle Size
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Vaccinia virus*


  • Acrylates
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Eudragit E100
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines
  • Polymers