Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biologics & Bioprocessing
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Inovio Pharmaceutical's DNA Vaccine for the MERS Virus Induces Robust Immune Response

Published: Monday, December 02, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, December 02, 2013
Bookmark and Share
No vaccine exists for the MERS virus that has killed 42% of those infected.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that preclinical testing of a DNA synthetic vaccine for the virulent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) induced robust and durable immune responses, demonstrating the potential for a SynCon® DNA vaccine to prevent and treat this deadly virus.

Since 2012, when the virus was first identified, 153 cases from nine Middle Eastern countries have been reported and, alarmingly, 42% of these cases have been fatal. MERS is similar to the SARS virus which infected 8,000 people several years ago. MERS differs from SARS in that it appears to be less contagious, but MERS is almost five times as fatal as SARS, which killed 10% of those infected. There is no vaccine or effective treatment for MERS.

In this study, DNA vaccine constructs targeting multiple MERS antigens were generated using Inovio's SynCon® vaccine platform. These SynCon constructs were administered via Inovio's CELLECTRA® electroporation-based delivery technology. The vaccine constructs were observed to induce strong neutralizing antibodies and broad CD8+ T cells in mice. These findings are vital given the importance of neutralizing antibodies in preventing infection and the role T cells play in clearing infection by killing cells that harbor the virus.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's President and CEO, said, "Our SynCon® platform has again generated a synthetic vaccine candidate that shows promise for providing a treatment where there is none. With human data showing the powerful killing effect of T cells generated by our vaccine for HIV and our therapy for HPV-associated cervical dysplasia and various cancers, we look forward to providing Inovio's answer to MERS, a deadly infectious disease that has unknown pandemic potential. What's even more impressive about our candidate vaccine is that it is designed with the goal to universally protect against multiple strains of MERS, which has been shown to have diverse genetic variants. With appropriate external funding, this product could become an effective shield against this deadly virus."

To begin the study, a consensus MERS "spike" protein vaccine construct was created based on multiple strains of the MERS virus.  Inovio's MERS DNA vaccine was immunogenic in mice and seroconversion, or the development of detectable specific antibodies in the blood as a result of immunization, was observed in all animals. Furthermore, the antibodies generated by the vaccine in 100% of mice (20 of 20) were able to neutralize or completely block actual infection of MERS virus in the cells, demonstrating the protective potential of this vaccine. In contrast, none of the unvaccinated mice in the control group (10) generated neutralizing antibodies.

Researchers also observed that vaccination was highly T-cell immunogenic, generating robust and broad T cell responses as extensively analyzed by the standardized T cell ELISPOT assay. The vaccine produced robust CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses against multiple epitopes of the MERS spike protein. This increased diversity and magnitude of cellular responses may be critical for effectively mitigating MERS infection.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Inovio Pharmaceuticals' Potent hTERT DNA Cancer Vaccine Shows Potential to Reduce Tumors and Prevent Tumor Recurrence
Mice and monkey study demonstrates robust and broad immune responses.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Inovio Pharmaceuticals & U.S. Army Receive $3.5 Million Biodefense Grant
Inovio to advance painless device to simultaneously deliver multiple vaccines using electroporation technology.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Partner
Follow-on agreement will lead to clinical trials.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Inovio Pharmaceuticals CMV Synthetic Vaccine Constructs Generate Strong and Broad T-Cell Responses in Preclinical Study
No vaccine or cure exists for virus that can be life threatening to infants, immune compromised, and transplant patients.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Scientific News
Antibody Treatment Efficacious in Psoriasis
An experimental, biologic treatment, brodalumab, achieved 100 percent reduction in psoriasis symptoms in twice as many patients as a second, commonly used treatment, according to the results of a multicenter clinical trial led by Mount Sinai researchers.
Promising Drug Candidate to Treat Chronic Itch
In a new study, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) describe a class of compounds with the potential to stop chronic itch without the adverse side effects normally associated with medicating the condition.
Escape Prevention
Studying flu virus structure brings us a step closer to a permanent vaccine.
13 Ways to Stop an Unseen Force from Disrupting Weighing
Download a free Mettler Toledo paper to discover how to halt static’s negative effects before the next weigh-in.
Inroads Against Leukaemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
A New Single-Molecule Tool to Observe Enzymes at Work
A team of scientists at the University of Washington and the biotechnology company Illumina have created an innovative tool to directly detect the delicate, single-molecule interactions between DNA and enzymatic proteins.
Milestone Single-Biomolecule Imaging Technique May Advance Drug Design
The first nanometer resolved image of individual tobacco mosaic virions shows the potential of low-energy electron holography for imaging biomolecules at a single particle level; a milestone in structural biology and a potential new tool for drug design.
Researchers Discover A New Mechanism of Proteins to Block HIV
Certain IFITM proteins block and inhibit cell-to-cell transmission of HIV.
Opening the Door to Safer, More Precise Cancer Therapies
New method regulates when, and how strongly, cancer-killing therapeutic T cells are activated.
Vaccination On The Horizon For Severe Viral Infection Of The Brain
Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich reveal possible new treatment methods for a rare, usually fatal brain disease.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos