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'New' human adenovirus may not make for good vaccines, after all
Date:8/11/2010

In recent years, scientists have studied the possibility of using engineered human adenoviruses as vaccines against diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. In this approach, adenoviruses, which commonly cause respiratory-tract infections, are rendered relatively harmless before they are used as vectors to deliver genes from pathogens, which in turn stimulate the body to generate a protective immune response.

In a new study of four adenovirus vectors, researchers from The Wistar Institute show that a reportedly rare human adenovirus, called AdHu26, is not so rare, after all, and would thus be unlikely to be optimal as a vaccine carrier for mass vaccination. As previous research has shown, a viral vector may be ineffective if the virus it is based on is common in a given population. According to the Wistar scientists, their study also supports the use of chimpanzee adenoviruses as vaccine vectors, since humans have little exposure to these viruses. Their findings were published online, ahead of print, in the Journal of Virology.

"Despite previous reports to the contrary, we find that AdHu26 commonly infects people, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa, the very people for whom the need for novel vaccine strategies is most dire," said senior author Hildegund C. J. Ertl, M.D., Wistar professor and director of The Wistar Institute's Vaccine Center. "HIV, malaria, and other infectious diseases take a tremendous toll in the developing world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, and a vaccine platform that could be used in those regions could save the lives of millions."

Scientists believe that prior immunity to human adenoviruses is what led, in part, to the failure in 2007 of the STEP trial, a large vaccine trial in the US and other countries that used an adenovirus vector as the basis for an HIV vaccine.

In the current study, Ertl and her colleagues analyzed blood samples collected from people at seven sites arou
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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