West Nile virus (WNV) cycles between insects and wild birds, and is transmitted via mosquito vectors to horses and humans, potentially causing severe neuroinvasive disease. Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is an advanced viral vector for developing new recombinant vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer. Here, we generated and evaluated recombinant MVA candidate vaccines that deliver WNV envelope (E) antigens and fulfil all the requirements to proceed to clinical testing in humans. Infections of human and equine cell cultures with recombinant MVA demonstrated efficient synthesis and secretion of WNV envelope proteins in mammalian cells non-permissive for MVA replication. Prime-boost immunizations in BALB/c mice readily induced circulating serum antibodies binding to recombinant WNV E protein and neutralizing WNV in tissue culture infections. Vaccinations in HLA-A2.1-/HLA-DR1-transgenic H-2 class I-/class II-knockout mice elicited WNV E-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Moreover, the MVA-WNV candidate vaccines protected C57BL/6 mice against lineage 1 and lineage 2 WNV infection and induced heterologous neutralizing antibodies. Thus, further studies are warranted to evaluate these recombinant MVA-WNV vaccines in other preclinical models and use them as candidate vaccine in humans.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.02.042, hdl.handle.net/1765/84177
Department of Virology

Volz, A., Lim, S., Kaserer, M., Lülf, A., Marr, L., Jany, S., … Sutter, G. (2016). Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of recombinant Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara candidate vaccines delivering West Nile virus envelope antigens. Vaccine, 34(16), 1915–1926. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.02.042