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Live Attenuated Rubella Vector to Express Vaccine Antigens

Live attenuated viruses make potent and effective vaccines. Despite the urgent need for an HIV vaccine, this approach has not been feasible because it has not been possible to attenuate the virus reliably and guarantee vaccine safety. Instead, live viral vectors have been proposed that could present HIV vaccine antigens in the most immunogenic way, in the context of an active infection.

The inventors have adapted a rubella vaccine strain as a vector to express HIV and SIV antigen and tested the effect of insert size and composition on vector stability and viral titer. The inventors have identified an acceptor site in the rubella nonstructural gene region, where foreign genes can be expressed as a fusion protein with the nonstructural protein P150 without affecting essential viral functions. The inserts were expressed as early genes of rubella, under control of the rubella genomic promoter. At this site, HIV and SIV antigens were expressed stably for at least seven passages, as the rubella vectors reached high titers. Rubella readily infects rhesus macaques, and these animals will provide an ideal model for testing the new vectors for replication in vivo, immunogenicity and protection against SIV or SHIV challenge.

Potential Commercial Applications:

  • HIV vaccines
  • Bivalent rubella
  • Research tools

Competitive Advantages:

  • Ease of manufacture
  • Low cost vaccines

Related Invention(s):

Ira Berkower
Konstantin Virnik

Intellectual Property:
PCT Application No. PCT/US2013/035634
US Application No. 14/387,514

Virnik K, et al. PMID 22776214

Licensing Contact:
Bill Ronnenberg, JD-MIP, MS
FDA Technology Transfer Program
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Building WO1, Rm 4214
Silver Spring, MD 20993
Email: FDAInventionlicensing@fda.hhs.gov
Phone: 240-402-4561

OTT Reference No: E-004-2012/0
Updated: August 5, 2015

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