Needle-Free Devices and CpG-Adjuvanted DNA Improve Anti-HIV Antibody Responses of Both DNA and Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Vectored Candidate Vaccines

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The combination of mosaic Gag and CAP256 envelope in an HIV vaccine regimen comprising DNA prime and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) boost followed by protein boost has previously been shown to generate robust autologous Tier 2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) in rabbits. Further refinements of this strategy have been investigated to improve antibody responses. The delivery of both DNA and recombinant MVA vaccines with a needle-free device was compared to delivery by injection, and the effect of formulating the DNA vaccine with adjuvant CpG ODN 1826 was determined. The Pharmajet Stratis<sup>&reg;</sup> needle-free injection device (PharmaJet, Golden, CO, USA) improved binding antibody responses to the DNA vaccine as well as both binding and neutralizing antibody responses to the MVA vaccines. Formulation of the DNA vaccines with CpG adjuvant further improved the antibody responses. A shortened vaccination regimen of a single DNA inoculation followed by a single MVA inoculation did not elicit Tier 1B nor Tier 2 neutralization responses as produced by the two DNA, followed by two MVA vaccination regimen. This study showed the immunogenicity of HIV DNA and MVA vaccines administered in a DDMM regimen could be improved using the PharmaJet Stratis needle-free injection device and formulation of the DNA vaccines with CpG adjuvant.