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Paper of the Month October 2012

A Chimeric Vesiculo/Alphavirus is an Effective Alphavirus Vaccine

Journal of Virology.  2012.  Oct 17 [Epub ahead of print]


Anasuya Chattopadhyay, Eryu Wang, Robert Seymour, Scott C. Weaver, and John K. Rose.


While a large number of mosquito-transmitted alphaviruses are known to cause serious human diseases, there are no licensed vaccines that protect against alphavirus infections. The alphavirus chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has caused multiple recent outbreaks of chikungunya fever. This virus has the potential to cause a worldwide epidemic and has generated strong interest in development of a prophylactic CHIKV vaccine. We report here on the development of a potent experimental vaccine for CHIKV based on a chimeric vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the entire CHIKV envelope polyprotein (E3-E2-6K-E1) in place of the VSV glycoprotein (G). These VSVΔG-CHIKV chimeras incorporated functional CHIKV glycoproteins into the viral envelope in place of VSV G. The chimeric viruses were attenuated for growth in tissue culture, but could be propagated to high titers without VSV G complementation. They also generated robust neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses to CHIKV in mice after a single dose, and protected mice against CHIKV infection. VSVΔG-alphavirus chimeras could have general applicability as alphavirus vaccines.