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Vaccine. 2008 May 23;26(22):2762-71. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.03.009. Epub 2008 Mar 31.

Construction and characterization of a second-generation pseudoinfectious West Nile virus vaccine propagated using a new cultivation system.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, TX 77555, USA.


Safer vaccines are needed to prevent flavivirus diseases. To help develop these products we have produced a pseudoinfectious West Nile virus (WNV) lacking a functional C gene which we have named RepliVAX WN. Here we demonstrate that RepliVAX WN can be safely propagated at high titer in BHK cells and vaccine-certified Vero cells engineered to stably express the C protein needed to trans-complement RepliVAX WN growth. Using these BHK cells we selected a better growing mutant RepliVAX WN population and used this to generate a second-generation RepliVAX WN (RepliVAX WN.2). RepliVAX WN.2 grown in these C-expressing cell lines safely elicit strong protective immunity against WNV disease in mice and hamsters. Taken together, these results indicate the clinical utility of RepliVAX WN.2 as a vaccine candidate against West Nile encephalitis.

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