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Generation of a Dual-Target, Safe, Inexpensive Microbicide that Protects Against HIV-1 and HSV-2 Disease.

Scientific Reports 2018 Februrary 13
HSV-2 infection is a significant health problem and a major co-morbidity factor for HIV-1 acquisition, increasing risk of infection 2-4 fold. Condom based prevention strategies for HSV-2 and HIV-1 have not been effective at stopping the HIV-1 pandemic, indicating that alternative prevention strategies need to be investigated. We have previously developed an inexpensive HIV-1 specific microbicide that utilizes the S-layer mediated display capabilities of Caulobacter crescentus, and have shown that recombinant C. crescentus displaying HIV entry blocking proteins are able to provide significant protection from HIV-1 infection in vitro. Here we demonstrate that recombinant C. crescentus are safe for topical application and describe 5 new recombinant C. crescentus that provide protection from HIV-1 infection in vitro. Further, we demonstrate protection from disease following intravaginal infection with HSV-2 in a murine model using C. crescentus expressing the anti-viral lectins Cyanovirin-N and Griffithsin, as well as α-1-antitrypsin and indolicidin. Interestingly, C. crescentus alone significantly reduced HSV-2 replication in vaginal lavage fluid. Protection from HSV-2 disease was strongly associated with early cytokine production in the vaginal tract. Our data support the potential for a dual-target microbicide that can protect against both HIV-1 and HSV-2, which could have an enormous impact on public health.

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