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TDK conference 2017

The application of electroporation in the pursuit of an effective hiv vaccine as part of the european AIDS vaccine initiative 2020 (EAVI2020) project
Hajdú Dorottya - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Directorate of Veterinary Medicinal Products - NÉBIH
Supervisors: Dr. Ákos Jerzsele, Dr. Gábor Kulcsár


EAVI2020 is the new 23 million Euro project of the European Commission accelerating the search for a prospective prophylactic HIV vaccine candidate. It is important to address - What does HIV/AIDS have to do with veterinary medicine? Why veterinarians need to understand HIV and AIDS better? First and foremost, under the umbrella initiative of the worldwide strategy ‘One Health’, interdisciplinary collaborations are a necessity where veterinarians need to fulfil their obligation in protecting public health and tackling today’s and tomorrow’s crucial health problems. Among which, HIV /AIDS is the deadliest disease of zoonotic origin and the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. According to WHO, 61% of human pathogens and 75% of newly emerging ones are zoonotic, demonstrating the need for veterinary involvement. Despite the overall decrease in the number of newly infected and the longer life expectancy of infected individuals, the cure has not been found yet. Therefore, it is crucial for veterinarians to be able to educate HIV/AIDS clients, co-workers, employees and community health professionals.

The individual stages of the EAVI2020 rabbit experiment were discussed in the thesis from immunizing the animal subjects through electroporation with different plasmid constructs to evaluating blood samples for the presence of specific broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies to the envelope antigens encoded by the various vector constructs via studying different assays. These were B and T cell ELISpot assays, antigen specific ELISAs, neutralization assays and cell sorting analysis. In total 8 groups, each having 6 female New Zealand White rabbits were housed at the Official Medicines Control Laboratory Network’s biosafety level-2 Animal Facility in Gödöllő. The electroporated DNA immunization schedule was divided into weeks 0, 4, 8, followed by a common protein boost immunization at week 20. Blood samples were collected at weeks 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 16, 20, 22. Group 1 was immunized with ConSOSL.UFO.664 construct, Grp 2 with ConSOSL.UFO.750, Grp 3 with Mosaic1, Grp 4 with Mosaic2, Grp 5 with Mosaic3, Grp 6 with a mosaic cocktail and Grp 7 with Mosaic1 at week 0, with Mosaic 2 at week 4 and with Mosaic3 at week 8. Grp 8 received immunization IM not through electroporation at week 4 and 8 with ConSOSL.UFO.664 and a protein boost IM at week 20.

As it was predicted based on the partial results of the blood samples, antibodies generated against the Mosaic constructs gave the most specific results, allowing the further prospect of cloning monoclonal antibodies and taking them into small scale pre-clinical human trials in the upcoming months.

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