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Hum Vaccin. 2011 Jun;7(6):685-93. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Human pathogenic hantaviruses and prevention of infection.

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Institute of Medical Virology, Helmut Ruska Haus, University Medicine Charité, Charitéplatz, Berlin, Germany.


Hantaviruses are emerging viruses which are hosted by small mammals. When transmitted to humans, they can cause two clinical syndromes, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome or hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. The review compiles the current list of hantaviruses which are thought to be pathogenic in humans on the basis of molecular or at least serological evidence. Whereas induction of a neutralizing humoral immune response is considered to be protective against infection, the dual role of cellular immunity (protection versus immunopathogenicity) is discussed. For active immunisation, inactivated virus vaccines are licensed in certain Asian countries. Moreover, several classical and molecular vaccine approaches are in pre-clinical stages of development. The development of hantavirus vaccines is hampered by the lack of adequate animal models of hantavirus-associated disease. In addition to active immunization strategies, the review summarizes other ways of infection prevention, as passive immunization, chemoprophylaxis, and exposition prophylaxis.

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