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Virus Res. 2011 Jun;158(1-2):28-32. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2011.02.019. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Maternal transfer of antibodies to the offspring after mice immunization with insect larvae-derived recombinant hepatitis E virus ORF-2 proteins.

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Departamento de Biotecnología, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Ctra. Coruña Km. 7.5, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a major cause of acute hepatitis in humans, causing outbreaks and epidemics in regions with sub-optimal sanitary conditions, in many of which it is endemic. Nowadays there is no specific therapy or licensed vaccines against HEV infection. In this study, we have analyzed in mice the immunogenicity of HEV open-reading frame 2 (ORF-2) protein, and a truncated form of it lacking the first 111 amino acids, efficiently expressed in an improved baculovirus-based technology using insects as living biofactories. Both recombinant proteins elicited high and long-lasting specific anti HEV antibodies. Passive transfer of immunity from immunized mothers to their offspring was demonstrated to occur both by transplacental and lactation routes. These results indicate that these insect-derived immunogens constitute low-cost potential vaccine candidate to be further evaluated.

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