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Virology. 2010 Sep 15;405(1):243-52. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2010.06.014. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

The neurovirulence and neuroinvasiveness of chimeric tick-borne encephalitis/dengue virus can be attenuated by introducing defined mutations into the envelope and NS5 protein genes and the 3' non-coding region of the genome.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a severe disease affecting thousands of people throughout Eurasia. Despite the use of formalin-inactivated vaccines in endemic areas, an increasing incidence of TBE emphasizes the need for an alternative vaccine that will induce a more durable immunity against TBE virus (TBEV). The chimeric attenuated virus vaccine candidate containing the structural protein genes of TBEV on a dengue virus genetic background (TBEV/DEN4) retains a high level of neurovirulence in both mice and monkeys. Therefore, attenuating mutations were introduced into the envelope (E(315)) and NS5 (NS5(654,655)) proteins, and into the 3' non-coding region (Delta30) of TBEV/DEN4. The variant that contained all three mutations (vDelta30/E(315)/NS5(654,655)) was significantly attenuated for neuroinvasiveness and neurovirulence and displayed a reduced level of replication and virus-induced histopathology in the brains of mice. The high level of safety in the central nervous system indicates that vDelta30/E(315)/NS5(654,655) should be further evaluated as a TBEV vaccine.

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