Direct DNA inoculations are being developed as a method of subunit vaccination. Plasmid DNAs encoding influenza virus hemagglutinin glycoproteins have been tested for the ability to provide protection against lethal influenza challenges. In immunization trials using inoculations of purified DNA in saline, 67-95% of test mice and 25-63% of test chickens were protected against the lethal challenge. Good protection was achieved by intramuscular, intravenous and intradermal injections. In mice, 95% protection was achieved by gene gun delivery of 250-2500 times less DNA than the saline inoculations. Successful DNA vaccination by multiple routes of inoculation and the high efficiency of gene-gun delivery highlight the potential of this promising new approach to immunization.