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Technology Transfer Office
11 Rope Ferry Road #6210
Hanover, NH 03755-1404
Phone: (603) 646-3027
Fax: (603) 646-3670

Compositions and Methods for Preventing or Treating Variola Virus Infection

Variola virus, the most virulent member of the genus Orthopoxvirus, specifically infects humans and causes smallpox. Although smallpox was eradicated in 1980, it remains a potential agent for bioterrorism. As a category A biological weapon, its potential to devastate populations is a concern. Moreover, despite the efficacy of a live vaccinia virus vaccine, the level of toxicity is deemed unacceptably high due in part to the fact that a live vaccine can be lethal to immunosuppressed individuals such as those with HIV/AIDS, and that severe complications are also frequent when eczema arepre-existing conditions of the vacine.

Dartmouth researchers have now found that by combining a replication-deficient modified vaccinia Ankara strain (MVA) of vaccinia virus with a toll-like receptor (TLR) agonist, and optionally an agonistic anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody, cytolytic T lymphocyte, IFN-gamma cytokine, and neutralizing antiviral antibody responses to MVA can be enhanced. Given the reduced toxicity and replication defective nature of the MVA, vaccines can be developed to prevent or treat variola virus infection, or related poxvirus infection, in healthy and immunosuppressed individuals or to diminish viral pathogenesis. In addition, the one-shot approach developed also allows for ring immunization in response to a bioterrorist smallpox virus release.

This technology is claimed in the published United States Patent Application No. 11/519,408. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in its commercialization. (Ref: J334)

Last Updated: 7/24/12