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Vaccine. 2004 Sep 3;22(25-26):3329-33.

Live vaccinia-rabies virus recombinants, but not an inactivated rabies virus cell culture vaccine, protect B-lymphocyte-deficient A/WySnJ mice against rabies: considerations of recombinant defective poxviruses for rabies immunization of immunocompromised individuals.

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Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.


Presently, commercially available cell culture rabies vaccines for humans and animals consist of the five inactivated rabies virus proteins. The vaccines elicit a CD4+ helper T-cell response and a humoral B-cell response against the viral glycoprotein (G) resulting in the production of virus neutralizing antibody. Antibody against the viral nucleoprotein (N) is also present, but the mechanism(s) of its protection is unclear. HIV-infected individuals with low CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts and individuals undergoing treatment with immunosuppressive drugs have an impaired neutralizing antibody response after pre- and post-exposure immunization with rabies cell culture vaccines. Here we show the efficacy of live vaccinia-rabies virus recombinants, but not a cell culture vaccine consisting of inactivated rabies virus, to elicit elevated levels of neutralizing antibody in B-lymphocyte deficient A/WySnJ mice. The cell culture vaccine also failed to protect the mice, whereas a single immunization of a vaccinia recombinant expressing the rabies virus G or co-expressing G and N equally protected the mice up to 18 months after vaccination. The data suggest that recombinant poxviruses expressing the rabies virus G, in particular replication defective poxviruses such as canarypox or MVA vaccinia virus that undergo abortive replication in non-avian cells, or the attenuated vaccinia virus NYVAC, should be evaluated as rabies vaccines in immunocompromised individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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