Influenza virus H5 DNA vaccination is immunogenic by intramuscular and intradermal routes in humans

J. E. Ledgerwood, Z. Hu, I. J. Gordon, G. Yamshchikov, M. E. Enama, S. Plummer, R. Bailer, M. B. Pearce, T. M. Tumpey, R. A. Koup, J. R. Mascola, G. J. Nabel, B. S. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Avian influenza virus causes outbreaks in domestic and wild birds around the world, and sporadic human infections have been reported. A DNA vaccine encoding hemagglutinin (HA) protein from the A/Indonesia/5/05 (H5N1) strain was initially tested in two randomized phase I clinical studies. Vaccine Research Center study 304 (VRC 304) was a double-blinded study with 45 subjects randomized to placebo, 1 mg of vaccine, or 4 mg of vaccine treatment groups (n=15/group) by intramuscular (i.m.) Biojector injection. VRC 305 was an open-label study to evaluate route, with 44 subjects randomized to intradermal (i.d.) injections of 0.5 mg by needle/syringe or by Biojector or 1 mg delivered as two 0.5-mg Biojector injections in the same deltoid or as 0.5 mg in each deltoid (n=11/group). Injections were administered at weeks 0, 4, and 8 in both studies. Antibody responses to H5 were assessed by hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and neutralization assay, and the H5 T cell responses were assessed by enzyme-linked immunospot and intracellular cytokine staining assays. There were no vaccine-related serious adverse events, and the vaccine was well tolerated in all groups. At 1 mg, i.d. vaccination compared to i.m. vaccination induced a greater frequency and magnitude of response by ELISA, but there were no significant differences in the frequency or magnitude of response between the i.d. and i.m. routes in the HAI or neutralization assays. T cell responses were more common in subjects who received the 1- or 4-mg dose i.m. These studies demonstrated that the DNA vaccine encoding H5 is safe and immunogenic and served to define the proper dose and route for further studies. The i.d. injection route did not offer a significant advantage over the i.m. route, and no difference was detected by delivery to one site versus splitting the dose between two sites for i.d. vaccine administration. The 4-mg dose (i.m) was further investigated in prime-boost regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1792-1797
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology (medical)


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