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Advances and Challenges in the Development of Therapeutic DNA Vaccines Against Hepatitis B Virus Infection

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 3 ]


Lucyna Cova   Pages 149 - 160 ( 12 )


Despite the existence of an effective prophylactic vaccine, chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major public health problem. Because very weak and functionally impaired virus-specific immune responses play a key role in the persistence of HBV infection, the stimulation of these responses appears to be of particular importance for virus clearance. In this regard DNA-based vaccination has emerged as novel, promising therapeutic approach for chronic hepatitis B. This review provides an update of preclinical studies in animal models (mouse, chimpanzee, duck, woodchuck), which evaluated the ability of DNA vaccines targeting hepadnaviral proteins to induce potent and sustained immune responses in naïve animals and to enhance virus clearance and break immune tolerance in chronic virus-carriers. Different strategies have been developed and evaluated in these models to optimize DNA vaccine including genetic adjuvants, combination with antiviral drugs, prime-boost regimens and plasmid delivery. The delivery of DNA by in vivo electroporation appears to be of particular interest for increase of vaccine potency in both small and large animal models. Based on the promising results generated in preclinical studies, first clinical trials of DNA vaccines have been initiated, although effective therapy of chronic hepatitis B awaits further improvements in vaccine efficacy.


DNA vaccine, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), woodchuck HBV (WHV), duck HBV (DHBV), hepatitis B, electroporation, immune-therapy.


Universite Lyon 1, Inserm U1052 Centre de Recherche en Cancerologie, Lyon, France.

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