Immunogenicity and clinical protection against equine influenza by DNA vaccination of ponies

Alida Ault, Alyse M. Zajac, Wing Pui Kong, J. Patrick Gorres, Michael Royals, Chih Jen Wei, Saran Bao, Zhi yong Yang, Stephanie E. Reedy, Tracy L. Sturgill, Allen E. Page, Jennifer Donofrio-Newman, Amanda A. Adams, Udeni B.R. Balasuriya, David W. Horohov, Thomas M. Chambers, Gary J. Nabel, Srinivas S. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Equine influenza A (H3N8) virus infection is a leading cause of respiratory disease in horses, resulting in widespread morbidity and economic losses. As with influenza in other species, equine influenza strains continuously mutate, often requiring the development of new vaccines. Current inactivated (killed) vaccines, while efficacious, only offer limited protection against diverse subtypes and require frequent boosts. Research into new vaccine technologies, including gene-based vaccines, aims to increase the neutralization potency, breadth, and duration of protective immunity. Here, we demonstrate that a DNA vaccine expressing the hemagglutinin protein of equine H3N8 influenza virus generates homologous and heterologous immune responses, and protects against clinical disease and viral replication by homologous H3N8 virus in horses. Furthermore, we demonstrate that needle-free delivery is as efficient and effective as conventional parenteral injection using a needle and syringe. These findings suggest that DNA vaccines offer a safe, effective, and promising alternative approach for veterinary vaccines against equine influenza.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3965-3974
Number of pages10
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 6 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA vaccine
  • Equine
  • Immunogenicity
  • Influenza
  • Protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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