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

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 compromised and may need multiple doses.

To this end, Rutgers scientists have developed a novel chemical method to generate live-attenuated, replication-defective DNA viruses for vaccine development. These viruses are unable to replicate in the host due to deliberate damage of their DNA through alkylation of the A-T rich minor grooves. The treatment and the residual chemicals for attenuation are non-toxic for cells in vitro by assessing cell viability and residual viral content after washout. 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.

Market Applications:

  • Production of live-attenuated vaccines from replication-defective DNA viruses for treatment of diseases with limited therapies.
  • Vaccines for immunocompromised population (HIV, chemotherapy candidates)


  • Safer than typical live attenuated vaccines
  • More effective at activating immune response than inactivated or subunit vaccines (which often require multiple doses)
  • Attenuation method can be modified for a wide variety of viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Provisional patent application filed, patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. Method has been successfully tested in in vivo models. Please contact



Jaijyan, DK., et al. Cell Reports Methods, 2(9): 100287. Doi: 10.1016/j.crmeth.2022.100287

Patent Information:
Shemaila Sultana
Assistant Director
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey