U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology (2013) 20(2): 218-226. DOI:10.1128/CVI.00546-12


Puumala virus (PUUV) is a causative agent of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Although PUUV-associated HFRS does not result in high case-fatality rates, the social and economic impact is considerable. There is no licensed vaccine or specific therapeutic to prevent or treat HFRS. Here we report the synthesis of a codon-optimized, full-lengthMsegment open reading frame and its cloning into a DNA vaccine vector to produce the plasmid pWRG/PUU-M(s2). pWRG/PUU-M(s2) delivered by gene gun produced high-titer neutralizing antibodies in hamsters and nonhuman primates. Vaccination with pWRG/ PUU-M(s2) protected hamsters against infection with PUUV but not against infection by related HFRS-associated hantaviruses. Unexpectedly, vaccination protected hamsters in a lethal disease model of Andes virus (ANDV) in the absence of ANDV crossneutralizing antibodies. This is the first evidence that an experimental DNA vaccine for HFRS can provide protection in a hantavirus lethal disease model.