The demonstrated clinical efficacy of a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vaccine vector has stimulated the investigation of additional serologically distinct Vesiculovirus vectors as therapeutic and/or prophylactic vaccine vectors to combat emerging viral diseases. Among these viral threats are the encephalitic alphaviruses Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) and Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), which have demonstrated potential for natural disease outbreaks, yet no licensed vaccines are available in the event of an epidemic. Here we report the rescue of recombinant Isfahan virus (rISFV) from genomic cDNA as a potential new vaccine vector platform. The rISFV genome was modified to attenuate virulence and express the VEEV and EEEV E2/E1 surface glycoproteins as vaccine antigens. A single dose of the rISFV vaccine vectors elicited neutralizing antibody responses and protected mice from lethal VEEV and EEEV challenges at 1 month postvaccination as well as lethal VEEV challenge at 8 months postvaccination. A mixture of rISFV vectors expressing the VEEV and EEEV E2/E1 glycoproteins also provided durable, single-dose protection from lethal VEEV and EEEV challenges, demonstrating the potential for a multivalent vaccine formulation. These findings were paralleled in studies with an attenuated form of rVSV expressing the VEEV E2/E1 glycoproteins. Both the rVSV and rISFV vectors were attenuated by using an approach that has demonstrated safety in human trials of an rVSV/HIV-1 vaccine. Vaccines based on either of these vaccine vector platforms may present a safe and effective approach to prevent alphavirus-induced disease in humans.
- Eastern equine encephalitis virus
- Isfahan virus
- Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
- Vesicular stomatitis virus
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