Immunogenicity and protection efficacy of subunit-based smallpox vaccines using variola major antigens

Student Author(s)

Michael G. Kishko

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Immunology and Infectious Disease | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Microbiology


The viral strain responsible for smallpox infection is variola major (VARV). As a result of the successful eradication of smallpox with the vaccinia virus (VACV), the general population is no longer required to receive a smallpox vaccine, and will have no protection against smallpox. This lack of immunity is a concern due to the potential for use of smallpox as a biological weapon. Considerable progress has been made in the development of subunit-based smallpox vaccines resulting from the identification of VACV protective antigens. It also offers the possibility of using antigens from VARV to formulate the next generation subunit-based smallpox vaccines. Here, we show that codon-optimized DNA vaccines expressing three VARV antigens (A30, B7 and F8) and their recombinant protein counterparts elicited high-titer, cross-reactive, VACV neutralizing antibody responses in mice. Vaccinated mice were protected from intraperitoneal and intranasal challenges with VACV. These results suggest the feasibility of a subunit smallpox vaccine based on VARV antigen sequences to induce immunity against poxvirus infection.

DOI of Published Version



Virology. 2008 Feb 5;371(1):98-107. Epub 2007 Oct 24. Link to article on publisher's site

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