Vaccine Protects Monkeys Against Four Types of Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses
Scientists funded by NIH have developed an investigational vaccine that protected cynomolgus macaques against four types of hemorrhagic fever viruses endemic to overlapping regions in Africa. The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Profectus BioSciences of New York are developing and testing the candidate quadrivalent VesiculoVax vaccine, with support from NIAID and Redeemer’s University in Nigeria.
The newly published study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation describes how the vaccine was created using a live-attenuated (weakened) vesicular stomatitis virus to deliver proteins that elicit protective immune responses.
The proteins are from Ebola virus (Kikwit strain), Sudan virus (Boniface strain, which also causes Ebola virus disease), Marburg virus (Angola strain) and Lassa virus (Josiah strain). There are no licensed vaccines to provide protection from any of those viruses—all of which can cause severe disease and death—although the European Medicines Agency has recommended licensing a VSV-Ebola vaccine.
Importantly, the monkeys infected in the study were exposed to different strains of Sudan virus (Gulu) and Lassa virus (0043/LV/14) than those in the candidate vaccine to help the researchers determine whether the vaccine would be cross-protective. Lassa 0043/LV/14 is circulating in an outbreak in Nigeria that began in 2018. Previous studies indicate that the investigational Ebola virus (Kikwit) vaccine will protect against other strains of Ebola virus.