Progress in DNA vaccine for prophylaxis and therapy of hepatitis B.
Thermet A., Rollier C., Zoulim F., Trepo C., Cova L.
Increasing lines of evidence suggest that DNA vaccine is of interest to fight chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. We used the Pekin duck infected by duck HBV (DHBV), closely related to the human virus, which is an attractive model allowing study of protective and therapeutic effectiveness of DNA vaccines against hepatitis B. Immunisation with a plasmid encoding the DHBV large (L) envelope protein induced a strong, specific, highly neutralising and long-lasting anti-preS humoral response in uninfected ducks. Importantly, maternal antibodies elicited by such DNA immunisation were vertically transmitted and protected progeny against viral challenge. Therapeutic immunisation of chronic DHBV-carrier ducks with this plasmid DNA led to the dramatic and sustained decrease in viral replication and even to clearance of intrahepatic viral covalently close circular DNA (cccDNA) pool in some animals. Our recent combination therapy data showed even a more pronounced antiviral effect of DNA vaccine to DHBV envelope protein when associated with antiviral drug (lamivudine) treatment. Therefore, DNA-based vaccine appears as a promising new approach for prophylaxis and therapy of hepatitis B.