In January 2011 a research team lead by first author Lauren A. Hirao at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine published an article in The Journal of Infectious Diseases that enumerates a recent study to test the success rate of multivalent smallpox DNA vaccine, delivered via an interadermal device, to provide immunity in nonhuman primates against a lethal strain of monkeypox. The research was sparked in part by the threat of a human monkeypox outbreak but also in response to the aftermath of the September, 11 2001 World Tower terrorist attack that lead government officials to fear the feasibility of a smallpox-based bioterrorist attack. Simple recombinant vaccine development is technologically difficult for poxviruses, such as Monkeypox, due to their large, complex nature.
Hirao et al. hypothesized that a multicomponent mixture of vaccines is most likely important for protection. The team inserted a synthetic, highly concentrated DNA vaccine to 14 captive macaques by a minimally invasive novel skin electroporation. The vaccine offered protection fromt he highly pathogenic monkeypox challenge producing a diverse, high-titer antibody response against 8 different DNA-encoded antigens administrated simultaneously in microvolumes that have not been previously described. Further study of this combination of technologies is likely to enhance efficacy of vaccine potency, in addition to informing vacine areans where antibody responses are important.