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Virology. 2007 Aug 1;364(2):291-300. Epub 2007 Apr 16.

Recombinant simian varicella viruses induce immune responses to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) antigens in immunized vervet monkeys.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Slot 511, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) Oka vaccine offers potential as a recombinant vaccine against other pathogens. In this study, recombinant simian varicella viruses (rSVV) expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) envelope (env, gp130) and gag antigens were constructed. Expression of the SIV env and gag transcripts and antigens in rSVV-infected Vero cells was confirmed. The rSVV-SIVenv and rSVV-SIVgag viruses replicated as efficiently as wild-type SVV in cell culture. The immunogenicity of rSVV-SIVenv and rSVV-SIVgag was investigated in immunized vervet monkeys. Humoral immune responses to the SIV gp130 and gag antigens were detected as early as 4 weeks after the initial immunization with higher antibody titers following a booster immunization. Cellular immune responses against the SIV gp130 antigen were detected by ELISPOT assay. The rSVV established latent infection in neural ganglia. A subsequent study will evaluate the ability of rSVV vaccines expressing SIV antigens to protect nonhuman primates against simian AIDS.

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