MP-12 virus containing the clone 13 deletion in the NSs gene prevents lethal disease when administered after Rift Valley fever virus infection in hamsters

Brian B. Gowen, Jonna B. Westover, Eric J. Sefing, Kevin W. Bailey, Shoko Nishiyama, Luci Wandersee, Dionna Scharton, Kie Hoon Jung, Tetsuro Ikegami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV; Bunyaviridae, Phlebovirus) causes a range of illnesses that include retinitis, fulminant hepatitis, neurologic disease, and hemorrhagic fever. In hospitalized individuals, case fatality rates can be as high as 10-20%. There are no vaccines or antivirals approved for human use to prevent or treat severe RVFV infections. We previously tested the efficacy of the MP-12 vaccine strain and related variants with NSs truncations as a post-exposure prophylaxis in mice infected with wild-type pathogenic RVFV strain ZH501. Post-exposure efficacy of the rMP12-C13type, a recombinant MP-12 vaccine virus which encodes an in-frame truncation removing 69% of the NSs protein, resulted in 30% survival when administering the virus within 30 min of subcutaneous ZH501 challenge in mice, while the parental MP-12 virus conferred no protection by post-exposure vaccination. Here, we demonstrate uniform protection of hamsters by post-exposure vaccination with rMP12-C13type administered 6 h post-ZH501 infection while no efficacy was observed with the parental MP-12 virus. Notably, both the MP-12 and rMP12-C13type viruses were highly effective (100% protection) when administered 21 days prior to challenge. In a subsequent study delaying vaccination until 8, 12, and 24 h post-RVFV exposure, we observed 80, 70, and 30% survival, respectively. Our findings indicate that the rapid protective innate immune response elicited by rMP12-C13type may be due to the truncated NSs protein, suggesting that the resulting functional inactivation of NSs plays an important role in the observed post-exposure efficacy. Taken together, the data demonstrate that post-exposure vaccination with rMP12-C13type is effective in limiting ZH501 replication and associated disease in standard pre-exposure vaccination and post-challenge treatment models of RVFV infection, and suggest an extended post-exposure prophylaxis window beyond that initially observed in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number651
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - 2015


  • Phlebovirus
  • Post-exposure
  • Rift valley fever virus
  • Vaccine
  • Viral hemorrhagic fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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