Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-based recombinant viruses have been shown to be potent vaccine candidates for several infectious and neoplastic diseases. Since a major application of these live, replication-deficient vectors would be their use in immunocompromised or potentially immunocompromised individuals, a preclinical safety study was carried out. Macaques were inoculated with high doses of MVA (109) via various routes, after immune-suppression by total-body irradiation, anti-thymocyte globulin treatment, or measles virus (MV) infection. No clinical, haematological or pathological abnormalities related to MVA inoculation were observed during a 13-day follow-up period. The presence of MVA genomes was demonstrated by nested PCR during the course of the experiment in all macaques, but from none of these animals replication competent MVA could be reisolated. These data suggest that MVA can safely be used as a basis for recombinant human vaccines, and that it is also safe for use in immunocompromised individuals.

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Journal Vaccine
Stittelaar, K.J, Kuiken, T, de Swart, R.L, van Amerongen, G, Vos, H.W, Niesters, H.G.M, … Osterhaus, A.D.M.E. (2001). Safety of modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) in immune-suppressed macaques. Vaccine, 19(27), 3700–3709. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(01)00075-5