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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Feb 7;13(2):e0007042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007042. eCollection 2019 Feb.

Protective immunity by an engineered DNA vaccine for Mayaro virus.

Author information

1
Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America.
2
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Plymouth Meeting, PA, United States of America.
3
Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, United States of America.
4
Institute for Human Infection and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, United States of America.
5
Center for Tropical Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, United States of America.
6
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, United States of America.
7
Division of Infectious Diseases, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America.

Abstract

Mayaro virus (MAYV) of the genus alphavirus is a mosquito-transmitted emerging infectious disease that causes an acute febrile illness, rash, headaches, and nausea that may turn into incapacitating, persistent arthralgias in some victims. Since its discovery in Trinidad in 1954, cases of MAYV infection have largely been confined there and to the northern countries of South America, but recently, MAYV cases have been reported in some island nations in the Caribbean Sea. Accompanying these reports is evidence that new vectors, including Aedes spp. mosquitos, recently implicated in the global spread of Zika and chikungunya viruses, are competent for MAYV transmission, which, if true, could facilitate the spread of MAYV beyond its current range. Despite its status as an emerging virus, there are no licensed vaccines to prevent MAYV infection nor therapeutics to treat it. Here, we describe the development and testing of a novel DNA vaccine, scMAYV-E, that encodes a synthetically-designed consensus MAYV envelope sequence. In vivo electroporation-enhanced immunization of mice with this vaccine induced potent humoral responses including neutralizing antibodies as well as robust T-cell responses to multiple epitopes in the MAYV envelope. Importantly, these scMAYV-E-induced immune responses protected susceptible mice from morbidity and mortality following a MAYV challenge.

PMID:
30730897
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pntd.0007042
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Conflict of interest statement

CCR, SR, LH, and JJK are employees of Inovio Pharmaceuticals and as such receive salary and benefits, including ownership of stock and stock options. KM discloses grant funding, industry collaborations, speaking honoraria, and fees for consulting. He has received consulting fees from Inovio Pharmaceuticals related to DNA vaccine development. He has a patent application for DNA vaccine development and delivery of DNA encoded monoclonal antibodies pending to Inovio Pharmaceuticals. Remuneration includes direct payments. DBW is the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Professor in Cancer Research at the Wistar Institute. DBW discloses grant funding, SAB and Board service, industry collaborations, speaking honoraria, and fees for consulting. His service includes serving on scientific review committees and advisory boards. Remuneration includes direct payments and/or stock or stock options. He notes potential conflicts associated with this work with Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Merck, VGXI, Geneos, Astrazeneca and potentially others. Licensing of technology from this laboratory has created over 150 jobs in the biotech/pharma industry. The other authors declare no competing financial interests.

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