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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jul 7;106(27):11300-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905640106. Epub 2009 Jul 6.

Effective preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis of rabies with a highly attenuated recombinant rabies virus.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Rabies remains an important public health problem with more than 95% of all human rabies cases caused by exposure to rabid dogs in areas where effective, inexpensive vaccines are unavailable. Because of their ability to induce strong innate and adaptive immune responses capable of clearing the infection from the CNS after a single immunization, live-attenuated rabies virus (RV) vaccines could be particularly useful not only for the global eradication of canine rabies but also for late-stage rabies postexposure prophylaxis of humans. To overcome concerns regarding the safety of live-attenuated RV vaccines, we developed the highly attenuated triple RV G variant, SPBAANGAS-GAS-GAS. In contrast to most attenuated recombinant RVs generated thus far, SPBAANGAS-GAS-GAS is completely nonpathogenic after intracranial infection of mice that are either developmentally immunocompromised (e.g., 5-day-old mice) or have inherited deficits in immune function (e.g., antibody production or type I IFN signaling), as well as normal adult animals. In addition, SPBAANGAS-GAS-GAS induces immune mechanisms capable of containing a CNS infection with pathogenic RV, thereby preventing lethal rabies encephalopathy. The lack of pathogenicity together with excellent immunogenicity and the capacity to deliver immune effectors to CNS tissues makes SPBAANGAS-GAS-GAS a promising vaccine candidate for both the preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis of rabies.

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