Background. Genital infection with herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is linked to an increased risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, an effective genital herpes vaccine would be an important weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Methods. To test whether a current vaccine candidate can protect against HSV-2 from Sub-Saharan Africa, we examined the ability of an HSV-2 vaccine strain, dl5-29, and other HSV-2 replication-defective mutant strains to protect against genital challenge with US or South African strains in a murine model. Results. Immunization with dl5-29 reduces infection by both viruses but is significantly more efficacious against the US virus than against the African virus. Furthermore, another US vaccine strain was more efficacious against US than against African viruses, and the converse was observed for the parallel African vaccine strain. Nevertheless, protection against the African viruses was significantly less with all vaccines used in this study. Conclusions. We conclude that there may be differences in protective epitopes and pathogenesis between the US and African strains that raise the need for increased doses of the existing vaccine candidate or an HSV-2 vaccine strain based on viruses from that region.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases