Development of a safe and efficacious filovirus vaccine is of high importance to public health. In this study, we compared immune responses induced by Ebola virus (EBOV) glycoprotein (GP) subunit vaccines via intradermal immunization with microneedle (MN) patches and the conventional intramuscular (IM) injection in mice, which showed that MN delivery of GP induced higher levels and longer lasting antibody responses against GP than IM injection. Further, we found that EBOV GP in formulation with a saponin-based adjuvant, Matrix-M, can be efficiently loaded onto MN patches. Co-delivery of Matrix-M with GP significantly enhanced induction of antibody responses by MN delivery, as also observed for IM injection. Results from challenge studies showed that all mice that received the GP/adjuvant formulation by MN or IM immunizations were protected from lethal EBOV challenge. Further, 4 out of 5 mice vaccinated by MN delivery of unadjuvanted GP also survived the challenge, whereas only 1 out of 5 mice vaccinated by IM injection of unadjuvanted GP survived the challenge. These results demonstrate that MN patch delivery of EBOV GP subunit vaccines, which is expected to enable improved safety and thermal stability, can confer effective protection against EBOV infection that is superior to IM vaccination.
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