The Hantavirus genus includes a number of rodent-borne viruses that can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Up to 15% of HFRS and up to 36% of HPS cases result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Both diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent.
Vaccines, Prophylactics, and Therapeutics:
The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) has developed and patented M-segment DNA plasmids and is applying those DNA approaches in HFRS and HPS vaccines. Work is also ongoing for prophylactic treatment options, and the technologies hold promising therapeutic potential.
The HFRS work has led to highly immunogenic (neutralizing antibodies) Puumala and Hantaan virus vaccine candidates. A Seoul virus DNA vaccine also has been developed. The Hantaan and Seoul vaccines have both been shown to create cross-neutralization activity against Dobrava virus. The HPS work has focused on Andes virus and Sin Nombre virus. The Puumala vaccine has been demonstrated to provide cross-protection against Andes virus in an animal model. The HFRS vaccine, based on Puumala/Hantaan DNA plasmids, has undergone two FDA Phase I studies, and is entering Phase II. Preclinical efficacy and GMP production work for an HPS vaccine based on Andes/Sin Nombre DNA plasmids is underway. Various delivery techniques have been explored, including muscle and skin electroporation, gene guns, and the PharmaJet® needle-free injectors.
In addition to the vaccine work, the underlying DNA plasmids have applications for various prophylactics and therapeutics. In vivo work has demonstrated the efficacy of post-exposure prophylaxis using antibodies produced with the DNA vaccines. The first ever demonstration of in vivo efficacy of any antiviral product using DNA vaccine-duck/egg system provided protection against Andes virus in hamsters treated 5 and 8 days after Andes virus exposure.
Antibodies and Pseudovirions for Diagnostic and Other Applications: USAMRIID has developed and patented an array of M-segment DNA vaccine plasmids. The plasmids have been used to make neutralizing/binding antibodies suitable for diagnostic applications. Additionally, the Army has developed standardized procedures for using the same DNA vaccine plasmids to produce pseudovirions. These virus-like particles can be used to measure neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibody responses to hantaviruses and other viruses.
- Extensive DNA Suite: M-segment DNA isolated and optimized for Puumala, Hantaan, Seoul, Andes, and Sin Nombre viruses; demonstrated cross-reaction/protection with other hantaviruses
- Broad Applications: The Army’s work is the backbone for a variety of ongoing and potential vaccine, prophylactic, therapeutic, diagnostic, antibody, and pseudovirion applications applicable to both HPS and HFRS
- Extensive, On-Going Research: More than a decade of research continues into new and advanced clinical trials and additional studies
- A suite of US and foreign patents and pending applications is available for license
- Potential for collaboration with USAMRIID researchers