The licensed smallpox vaccine, comprised of infectious vaccinia, is no longer popular as it is associated with a variety of adverse events. Safer vaccines have been explored such as further attenuated viruses and component designs. However, these alternatives typically provide compromised breadth and strength of protection. We conducted a genome-level screening of cowpox, the ancestral poxvirus, in the broadly immune-presenting C57BL/6 mouse as an approach to discovering novel components with protective capacities. Cowpox coding sequences were synthetically built and directly assayed by genetic immunization for open-reading frames that protect against lethal pulmonary infection. Membrane and non-membrane antigens were identified that partially protect C57BL/6 mice against cowpox and vaccinia challenges without adjuvant or regimen optimization, whereas the 4-pox vaccine did not. New vaccines might be developed from productive combinations of these new and existing antigens to confer potent, broadly efficacious protection and be contraindicated for none.
- Antigen discovery
- DNA vaccine
- Expression library immunization
- Gene vaccine
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