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Med Vet Entomol. 2003 Sep;17(3):235-43.

Growth characteristics of the veterinary vaccine candidate ChimeriVax-West Nile (WN) virus in Aedes and Culex mosquitoes.

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Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado 80521, USA.


In 1999 West Nile (WN) virus was introduced to North America where this flavivirus has spread rapidly among wildlife (especially birds) transmitted by various species of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Increasing numbers of cases and deaths among humans, horses and other domestic animals require development of effective vaccines. 'ChimeriVax-West Nile(vet)' is being developed for use as a veterinary vaccine to protect against WN infection. This chimeric virus contains the pre-membrane (prM) and envelope (E) genes from the wild-type WN NY99 virus (isolated from a flamingo in New York zoo during the 1999 WN epidemic) in the backbone of yellow fever (YF) 17D vaccine virus. Replication kinetics of ChimeriVax-WN(vet) virus were evaluated in mosquito cell culture (Aedes albopictus C6/36), in WN vector mosquitoes [Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles, Cx. nigripalpus Theobald and Cx. quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae)] and in YF vectors [Aedes aegypti (L) and Ae. albopictus (Skuse)], to determine whether these mosquitoes become infected through feeding on a viraemic vaccine, and their potential infectivity to transmit the virus. Growth of ChimeriVax-WN(vet) virus was found to be restricted in mosquitoes, compared to WN virus in Ae. albopictus C6/36 cells. When inoculated intrathoracically, ChimeriVax-WN(vet) and YF 17D viruses did not replicate in Cx. tritaeniorhynchus or Cx. nigripalpus; replication was very restricted compared to the wild-type WN virus in Cx. quinquefasciatus, Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. When fed on hanging drops with ChimeriVax-WN(vet) virus (7.7 log10 PFU/mL), none of the Culex mosquitoes became infected; one Ae. albopictus and 10% of the Ae. aegypti became infected, but the titre was very low and virus did not disseminate to head tissue. ChimeriVax-WN(vet) virus had a replication profile similar to that of the attenuated vaccine virus YF 17D, which is not transmitted by mosquitoes. These results suggest that the natural mosquito vectors of WN and YF viruses, which may incidentally take a bloodmeal from a vaccinated host, will not become infected with ChimeriVax-WN(vet) virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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