Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10519937
Vaccine 1999 Oct;18(5-6):479-86
Rabies is a fatal encephalomyelitis which is transmitted to man, mostly by dogs in developing countries. This zoonosis can be prevented by vaccination of humans before or after exposure. However, a more radical approach is possible, involving the elimination of the principal vector/reservoir by vaccinating dogs. The vaccine must be effective, safe and inexpensive. Mass production of plasmids is possible and DNA-based immunization with a plasmid encoding the antigen responsible for inducing protection seems to be more cost-effective than classical techniques involving cell culture. Beagles were immunized by intramuscular (i.m.) injection with a plasmid encoding the rabies virus (PV strain) glycoprotein. Neutralizing antibodies against both wild-type rabies virus and European Bat Lyssaviruses (EBL1 and EBL2) were detected after a single injection and a boost, but levels of neutralizing antibodies against EBL1 were low. Moreover, all vaccinated dogs were protected against a lethal challenge with a wild-type dog rabies strain. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate that dogs can be protected by DNA vaccines, and opens important perspectives for rabies control.