A nucleic acid vaccine, expressing the gene encoding herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 glycoprotein D (gD2) under control of the cytomegalovirus immediate-early gene promoter, was used to immunize guinea pigs against genital HSV-2 infection. The vaccine elicited humoral immune responses comparable to those seen after HSV-2 infection. Immunized animals exhibited protection from primary genital HSV-2 disease with little or no development of vesicular skin lesions and significantly reduced HSV-2 replication in the genital tract. After recovery from primary infection, immunized guinea pigs experienced significantly fewer recurrences and had significantly less HSV-2 genomic DNA detected in the sacral dorsal root ganglia compared with control animals. Thus, immunization reduced the burden of latent infection resulting from intravaginal HSV-2 challenge, and a nucleic acid vaccine expressing the HSV-2 gD2 antigen protected guinea pigs against genital herpes, limiting primary infection and reducing the magnitude of latent infection and the frequency of recurrent disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine