Method for Generating Replication-Defective DNA Virus for Safer Live-Attenuated Vaccines



Primary Inventor: Hua Zhu, Ph.D.

Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Genetics       

RU Tech ID #: 2021-002       


Invention Summary:

Live-attenuated vaccines are widely used for immunization against many viral diseases. However, there are still viral diseases that either entirely lack a treatment or lack a vaccine appropriate to give to subsets of the population such as the immune comprised. To this end, Rutgers scientists have developed a novel chemical method to generate live-attenuated replication-defective DNA viruses for use in vaccine development.


This method generates live-attenuated DNA viruses that are unable to replicate in the host due to deliberate damage of their DNA through alkylation of the A-T rich minor grooves. Immunization with the modified DNA virus allows for infection of host cells without replication necessary for producing progeny. Thus, vaccines produced from live-attenuated DNA viruses from this method are safer than typical live-attenuated vaccines as they are more easily contained by the host immune system.


This method can be used to attenuate a wide range of viruses, bacteria and fungi families. This method presents an opportunity to overcome both the inefficiencies of inactivated viral vaccines and risk of infection in immune compromised individuals with typical live-attenuated vaccines.


Market Applications:

•       Production of live-attenuated vaccines from replication-defective DNA viruses for treatment of diseases with limited


•       Production of safe and effective live-attenuated vaccines for immune compromised population such as those undergoing

        chemotherapy or HIV treatment.



•       Safer than typical live attenuated vaccines as viral DNA damaged to inhibit progeny formation.

•       More effective at activating immune response than inactivated or subunit vaccines (which often require multiple doses) as it

        more fully presents viral antigens and proteins.

•       Chemical method can be modified to attenuate wide variety of viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

•       Fast and broadly applicable chemical method for generating vaccines and immunogenic compositions.


Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Method has been successfully tested in in vivo models




Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Tania Das Banerjee
Assistant Licensing Manager
Rutgers University