Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a common sexually transmitted disease that affects approximately 500 million individuals globally. There is currently no approved vaccine to prevent HSV-2 infection. EXCT4 is a truncated form of the mature glycoprotein G-2 (mgG-2) that unlike full mature form is secreted by expressing cells enabling it to be rapidly scaled up for production. The current study examined whether EXCT4 immunity in mice could be further enhanced through use of adjuvants. EXCT4 formulated with Advax-CpG adjuvant induced a strong Th1-type immune response characterized by interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and protected animals against a lethal genital challenge with HSV-2. This response was associated with reduced viral load in vaginal washes, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia. Together the results provide proof of concept that EXCT4 formulated with Advax-CpG adjuvant is a promising HSV-2 vaccine candidate warranting further investigation.
- Herpes simplex virus 2