St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) and West Nile (WN) flaviviruses are genetically closely related and co-circulate in the United States. Virus neutralization tests provide the most specific means for serodiagnosis of infections with these viruses. However, use of wild-type SLE and WN viral strains for laboratory testing is constrained by the biocontainment requirements. We constructed two highly attenuated yellow fever (YF) virus chimeras that contain the premembrane-envelope (prM-E) protein genes from the virulent MSI-7 (isolated in the United States) or the naturally attenuated CorAn9124 (Argentina) SLE strains. The YF/SLE (CorAn version) virus and the previously constructed YF/WN chimera were shown to specifically distinguish between confirmed human SLE and WN cases in a virus neutralization test using patient sera. These chimeras have the potential for use as diagnostic reagents and vaccines against SLE and WN.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases