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DNA vaccine evaluation in small animals is hampered by low immunogenicity when the vaccines are delivered using a needle and syringe. To overcome this technical hurdle we tested the possibility that a device developed for human intradermal medicine delivery might be adapted to successfully deliver a DNA vaccine to small animals. Disposable syringe jet injection (DSJI) does not currently exist for small animals. However, a commercialized, human intradermal device used to to administer medicines to the human dermis in a 0.1 mL volume was evaluated in Syrian hamsters. Here, we found that hantavirus DNA vaccines administered to hamsters using DSJI were substantially more immunogenic than the same vaccines delivered by needle/syringe or particle mediated epidermal delivery (gene gun) vaccination. By adjusting how the device was used we could deliver vaccine to either subcutaneous tissues, or through the skin into the muscle. RNA and/or antigen expression was detected in epidermal, subepidermal and fibroblast cells. We directly compared six optimized and non-optimized hantavirus DNA vaccines in hamsters. Optimization, including codon-usage and mRNA stability, did not necessarily result in increased immunogenicity for all vaccines tested; however, optimization of the Andes virus (ANDV) DNA vaccine protected vaccinated hamsters from lethal disease. This is the first time active vaccination with an ANDV DNA vaccine has shown protective efficacy in the hamster model. The adaptation of a human intradermal jet injection device for use as a method of subcutaneous and intramuscular jet injection of DNA vaccines will advance the development of nucleic acid based medical countermeasures for diseases modeled in hamsters. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Rebecca L Brocato, Steven A Kwilas, Matthew D Josleyn, Simon Long, Xiankun Zeng, Casey C Perley, Lucia M Principe, Brandon Somerville, Melanie V Cohen, Jay W Hooper. Small animal jet injection technique results in enhanced immunogenicity of hantavirus DNA vaccines. Vaccine. 2021 Feb 12;39(7):1101-1110

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PMID: 33483212

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