DNA/MVA vaccines for HIV/AIDS

Smita Iyer, Rama R. Amara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Since the initial proof-of-concept studies examining the ability of antigen-encoded plasmid DNA to serve as an immunogen, DNA vaccines have evolved as a clinically safe and effective platform for priming HIV-specific cellular and humoral responses in heterologous "prime-boost" vaccination regimens. Direct injection of plasmid DNA into the muscle induces T- and B-cell responses against foreign antigens. However, the insufficient magnitude of this response has led to the development of approaches for enhancing the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines. The last two decades have seen significant progress in the DNA-based vaccine platform with optimized plasmid constructs, improved delivery methods, such as electroporation, the use of molecular adjuvants and novel strategies combining DNA with viral vectors and subunit proteins. These innovations are paving the way for the clinical application of DNA-based HIV vaccines. Here, we review preclinical studies on the DNA-prime/modified vaccinia Ankara(MVA)-boost vaccine modality for HIV. There is a great deal of interest in enhancing the immunogenicity of DNA by engineering DNA vaccines to co-express immune modulatory adjuvants. Some of these adjuvants have demonstrated encouraging results in preclinical and clinical studies, and these data will be examined, as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-178
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjuvant
  • CD40L
  • GM-CSF
  • Rhesus macaque
  • SIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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