Vaccination against the SARS-CoV infection is an attractive means to control the spread of viruses in public. In this study, we employed a DNA vaccine technology with the levamisole, our newly discovered chemical adjuvant, to generate Th1 type of response. To avoid the enhancement antibody issue, genes encoding the nucleocapsid, membrane, and envelope protein of SARS-CoV were cloned and their expressions in mammalian cells were determined. After the intramuscular introduction into animals, we observed that the constructs of the E, M, and N genes could induce high levels of specific antibodies, T cell proliferations, IFN-gamma, DTH responses, and in vivo cytotoxic T cells activities specifically against SARS-CoV antigens. The highest immune responses were generated by the construct encoding the nucleocapsid protein. The results suggest that the N, M, and E genes could be used as the targets to prevent SARS-CoV infection in the DNA vaccine development.

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