Announcing a new article publication for Zoonoses journal. Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an arbovirus endemic to the Americas, for which no vaccines or antiviral agents have been approved. TC-83 and V3526 are the best-characterized vaccine candidates for VEEV. Both are live-attenuated vaccines and have been associated with safety concerns, although fewer concerns exist for V3526. A previous attempt to improve the TC-83 vaccine focused on further attenuating the vaccine by adding mutations that alter the error-incorporation rate of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).
The research in this article examined the effects of these RdRp mutations in V3526 by cloning the 3X and 4X strains, assessing vaccine efficacy against challenge in adult female CD-1 mice, examining neutralizing-antibody titers, investigating vaccine tissue tropism, and testing the stability of the mutant strains. The V3526 RdRp mutants exhibited less tissue tropism in the spleen and kidney than the wild-type V3526, while maintaining vaccine efficacy. Illumina sequencing indicated that the RdRp mutations reverted to wild-type V3526 after five passages in murine pup brains.
The observed genotypic reversion is likely to be of limited concern, because wild-type V3526 remains an effective vaccine capable of providing protection. The results indicate that the V3526 RdRp mutants may be a safer vaccine design than the original V3526.
Article reference: Clint A. Haines, Rafael K. Campos and Sasha R. Azar et al. Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus V3526 Vaccine RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Mutants Increase Vaccine Safety Through Restricted Tissue Tropism in a Mouse Model. Zoonoses. Vol. 2(1). DOI: 10.15212/ZOONOSES-2021-0016
Keywords: Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, TC-83, V3526, vaccine, fidelity
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