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Jan 1st, 2016
An orthopoxvirus-based vaccine reduces virus excretion after MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels
Haagmans BL, van den Brand JMA, Raj VS, Volz A, Wohlsein P, Smits SL, Schipper D, Bestebroer TM, Okba N, Fux R, Bensaid A, Solanes Foz D, Kuiken T, Baumgärtner W, Segalés J, Sutter G, Osterhaus ADME

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections have led to an ongoing outbreak in humans, which was fueled by multiple zoonotic MERS-CoV introductions from dromedary camels. In addition to the implementation of hygiene measures to limit further camel-to-human and human-to-human transmissions, vaccine-mediated reduction of MERS-CoV spread from the animal reservoir may be envisaged. Here we show that a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine expressing the MERS-CoV spike protein confers mucosal immunity in dromedary camels. Compared with results for control animals, we observed a significant reduction of excreted infectious virus and viral RNA transcripts in vaccinated animals upon MERS-CoV challenge. Protection correlated with the presence of serum neutralizing antibodies to MERS-CoV. Induction of MVA-specific antibodies that cross-neutralize camelpox virus would also provide protection against camelpox

351(6268):77-81. doi:10.1126/science.aad1283
Feb 1st, 2016
Neurotropic virus infections as the cause of immediate and delayed neuropathology
Ludlow, M., Kortekaas, J., Herden, C. et al

A wide range of viruses from different virus families in different geographical areas, may cause immediate or delayed neuropathological changes and neurological manifestations in humans and animals. Infection by neurotropic viruses as well as the resulting immune response can irreversibly disrupt the complex structural and functional architecture of the central nervous system, frequently leaving the patient or affected animal with a poor or fatal prognosis. Mechanisms that govern neuropathogenesis and immunopathogenesis of viral infections are highlighted, using examples of well-studied virus infections that are associated with these alterations in different populations throughout the world. A better understanding of the molecular, epidemiological and biological characteristics of these infections and in particular of mechanisms that underlie their clinical manifestations may be expected to provide tools for the development of more effective intervention strategies and treatment regimens.

131: 159. doi:10.1007/s00401-015-1511-3
Acta Neuropathol
Oct 29th, 2015
Identification of the Mechanisms Causing Reversion to Virulence in an Attenuated SARS-CoV for the Design of a Genetically Stable Vaccine.
Jimenez-Guardeño JM, Regla-Nava JA, Nieto-Torres JL, DeDiego ML, Castaño-Rodriguez C, Fernandez-Delgado R, et al.

A SARS-CoV lacking the full-length E gene (SARS-CoV-∆E) was attenuated and an effective vaccine. Here, we show that this mutant virus regained fitness after serial passages in cell culture or in vivo, resulting in the partial duplication of the membrane gene or in the insertion of a new sequence in gene 8a, respectively. The chimeric proteins generated in cell culture increased virus fitness in vitro but remained attenuated in mice. In contrast, during SARS-CoV-∆E passage in mice, the virus incorporated a mutated variant of 8a protein, resulting in reversion to a virulent phenotype. When the full-length E protein was deleted or its PDZ-binding motif (PBM) was mutated, the revertant viruses either incorporated a novel chimeric protein with a PBM or restored the sequence of the PBM on the E protein, respectively. Similarly, after passage in mice, SARS-CoV-∆E protein 8a mutated, to now encode a PBM, and also regained virulence. These data indicated that the virus requires a PBM on a transmembrane protein to compensate for removal of this motif from the E protein. To increase the genetic stability of the vaccine candidate, we introduced small attenuating deletions in E gene that did not affect the endogenous PBM, preventing the incorporation of novel chimeric proteins in the virus genome. In addition, to increase vaccine biosafety, we introduced additional attenuating mutations into the nsp1 protein. Deletions in the carboxy-terminal region of nsp1 protein led to higher host interferon responses and virus attenuation. Recombinant viruses including attenuating mutations in E and nsp1 genes maintained their attenuation after passage in vitro and in vivo. Further, these viruses fully protected mice against challenge with the lethal parental virus, and are therefore safe and stable vaccine candidates for protection against SARS-CoV.

11(10): e1005215. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005215
PLoS Pathog


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