Pre-clinical efficacy and safety of experimental vaccines based on non-replicating vaccinia vectors against yellow fever.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Currently existing yellow fever (YF) vaccines are based on the live attenuated yellow fever virus 17D strain (YFV-17D). Although, a good safety profile was historically attributed to the 17D vaccine, serious adverse events have been reported, making the development of a safer, more modern vaccine desirable. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A gene encoding the precursor of the membrane and envelope (prME) protein of the YFV-17D strain was inserted into the non-replicating modified vaccinia virus Ankara and into the D4R-defective vaccinia virus. Candidate vaccines based on the recombinant vaccinia viruses were assessed for immunogenicity and protection in a mouse model and compared to the commercial YFV-17D vaccine. The recombinant live vaccines induced γ-interferon-secreting CD4- and functionally active CD8-T cells, and conferred full protection against lethal challenge already after a single low immunization dose of 10(5) TCID(50). Surprisingly, pre-existing immunity against wild-type vaccinia virus did not negatively influence protection. Unlike the classical 17D vaccine, the vaccinia virus-based vaccines did not cause mortality following intracerebral administration in mice, demonstrating better safety profiles. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The non-replicating recombinant YF candidate live vaccines induced a broad immune response after single dose administration, were effective even in the presence of a pre-existing immunity against vaccinia virus and demonstrated an excellent safety profile in mice.
Project description:The highly efficacious live-attenuated 17D yellow fever (YF) vaccine is occasionally associated with rare life-threatening adverse events. Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a non-replicating poxvirus, has been used as a vaccine platform to safely deliver various antigens. A MVA-based YF vaccine (MVA-BN-YF) was tested with and without a non-mineral oil adjuvant in a hamster model of lethal YF disease and protective efficacy of this vaccine was compared with the 17D vaccine. The vaccine candidate MVA-BN-YF generated a protective response in hamsters infected with YFV that was comparable to protection by the live 17D vaccine. Similar levels of neutralizing antibody were observed in animals vaccinated with either vaccine alone or vaccine with adjuvant. Significant improvement in survival, weight change, and serum alanine aminotransferase levels were observed in vaccinated hamsters when administered 42 and 14?days prior to challenge with Jimenez YF virus (YFV). Neutralizing antibodies induced by MVA-BN-YF were transferred to naïve hamsters prior to virus challenge. Passive administration of neutralizing antibody 24?h prior to virus infection resulted in significantly improved survival and weight change. A trend toward reduced liver enzyme levels was also observed. MVA-BN-YF, therefore, represents a safe alternative to vaccination with live-attenuated YFV.
Project description:Yellow fever virus (YFV)-17D is an empirically developed, highly effective live-attenuated vaccine that has been administered to human beings for almost a century. YFV-17D has stood as a paradigm for a successful viral vaccine, and has been exploited as a potential virus vector for the development of recombinant vaccines against other diseases. In this study, a DNA-launched YFV-17D construct (pBeloBAC-FLYF) was explored as a new modality to the standard vaccine to combine the commendable features of both DNA vaccine and live-attenuated viral vaccine. The DNA-launched YFV-17D construct was characterized extensively both in cell culture and in mice. High titres of YFV-17D were generated upon transfection of the DNA into cells, whereas a mutant with deletion in the capsid-coding region (pBeloBAC-YF/?C) was restricted to a single round of infection, with no release of progeny virus. Homologous prime-boost immunization of AAD mice with both pBeloBAC-FLYF and pBeloBAC-YF/?C elicited specific dose-dependent cellular immune response against YFV-17D. Vaccination of A129 mice with pBeloBAC-FLYF resulted in the induction of YFV-specific neutralizing antibodies in all vaccinated subjects. These promising results underlined the potential of the DNA-launched YFV both as an alternative to standard YFV-17D vaccination and as a vaccine platform for the development of DNA-based recombinant YFV vaccines.
Project description:The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas, followed by the yellow fever virus (YFV) outbreaks in Angola and Brazil highlight the urgent need for safe and efficient vaccines against the ZIKV as well as much greater production capacity for the YFV-17D vaccine. Given that the ZIKV and the YFV are largely prevalent in the same geographical areas, vaccines that would provide dual protection against both pathogens may obviously offer a significant benefit. We have recently engineered a chimeric vaccine candidate (YF-ZIKprM/E) by swapping the sequences encoding the YFV-17D surface glycoproteins prM/E by the corresponding sequences of the ZIKV. A single vaccine dose of YF-ZIKprM/E conferred complete protection against a lethal challenge with wild-type ZIKV strains. Surprisingly, this vaccine candidate also efficiently protected against lethal YFV challenge in various mouse models. We demonstrate that CD8+ but not CD4+ T cells, nor ZIKV neutralizing antibodies are required to confer protection against YFV. The chimeric YF-ZIKprM/E vaccine may thus be considered as a dual vaccine candidate efficiently protecting mice against both the ZIKV and the YFV, and this following a single dose immunization. Our finding may be particularly important in the rational design of vaccination strategies against flaviviruses, in particular in areas where YFV and ZIKV co-circulate.
Project description:Recent outbreaks of yellow fever virus (YFV) in West Africa and Brazil resulted in rapid depletion of global vaccine emergency stockpiles and raised concerns about being unprepared against future YFV epidemics. Here we report that a live attenuated virus similar to the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) vaccine JE-CVax/Imojev that consists of YFV-17D vaccine from which the structural (prM/E) genes have been replaced with those of the JEV SA14-14-2 vaccine strain confers full protection in mice against lethal YFV challenge. In contrast to the YFV-17D-mediated protection against YFV, this protection is not mediated by neutralizing antibodies but correlates with YFV-specific nonneutralizing antibodies and T cell responses against cell-associated YFV NS1 and other YFV nonstructural (NS) proteins. Our findings reveal the potential of YFV NS proteins to mediate protection and demonstrate that chimeric flavivirus vaccines, such as Imojev, could confer protection against two flaviviruses. This dual protection may have implications for the possible off-label use of JE-CVax in case of emergency and vaccine shortage during YFV outbreaks. In addition, populations in Asia that have been vaccinated with Imojev may already be protected against YFV should outbreaks ever occur on that continent, as several countries/regions in the Asia-Pacific are vulnerable to international spread of the YFV.IMPORTANCE Efficient and safe vaccines against yellow fever (e.g., YFV-17D) that provide long-lasting protection by rapidly inducing neutralizing antibody responses exist. However, the vaccine supply cannot cope with an increasing demand posed by urban outbreaks in recent years. Here we report that JE-CVax/Imojev, a YFV-17D-based chimeric Japanese encephalitis vaccine, also efficiently protects against YFV infection in mice. In case of shortage of the YFV vaccine during yellow fever outbreaks, (off-label) use of JE-CVax/Imojev may be considered. Moreover, wider use of JE-CVax/Imojev in Asia may lower the risk of the much-feared YFV spillover to the continent. More generally, chimeric vaccines that combine surface antigens and replication machineries of two distinct flaviviruses may be considered dual vaccines for the latter pathogen without induction of surface-specific antibodies. Following this rationale, novel flavivirus vaccines that do not hold a risk for antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection (inherent to current dengue vaccines and dengue vaccine candidates) could be designed.
Project description:The molecular basis of attenuation for live-attenuated vaccines is poorly understood. The yellow fever (YF) 17D vaccine virus was derived from the wild-type, parental strain Asibi virus by serial passage in chicken tissue and has proven to be a very safe and efficacious vaccine. We have previously shown that wild-type Asibi is a typical RNA virus with high genetic diversity, while the 17D vaccine virus has very little genetic diversity. To investigate this further, we treated Asibi and 17D viruses with ribavirin, a GTP analog with strong antiviral activity that increases levels of mutations in the viral genome. As expected, ribavirin treatment introduced mutations into the Asibi virus genome at a very high frequency and decreased viral infectivity while, in contrast, the 17D vaccine virus was resistant to ribavirin, as treatment with the antiviral introduced very few mutations into the genome, and viral infectivity was not lost. The results were confirmed for another YF wild-type parental and vaccine pair, a wild-type French viscerotropic virus and French neurotropic vaccine. Using recombinant Asibi and 17D viruses, ribavirin sensitivity was located to viral nonstructural genes. Thus, two live-attenuated YF vaccine viruses are genetically stable even under intense mutagenic pressure, suggesting that attenuation of live-attenuated YF vaccines is due, at least in part, to fidelity of the replication complex resulting in high genetic stability.IMPORTANCE Live-attenuated viral vaccines are highly safe and efficacious but represent complex and often multigenic attenuation mechanisms. Most of these vaccines have been generated empirically by serial passaging of a wild-type (WT) virus in cell culture. One of the safest and most effective live-attenuated vaccines is yellow fever (YF) virus strain 17D, which has been used for over 80?years to control YF disease. The availability of the WT parental strain of 17D, Asibi virus, and large quantities of clinical data showing the effectiveness of the 17D vaccine make this WT parent/vaccine pair an excellent model for investigating RNA virus attenuation. Here, we investigate a mechanism of 17D attenuation and show that the vaccine virus is resistant to the antiviral compound ribavirin. The findings suggest that attenuation is in part due to a low probability of reversion or mutation of the vaccine virus genome to WT, thus maintaining a stable genotype despite external pressures.
Project description:The live attenuated yellow fever vaccine (YF-17D) has been successfully used for more than 70 years. It is generally considered a safe vaccine, however, recent reports of serious adverse events following vaccination have raised concerns and led to suggestions that even safer YF vaccines should be developed. Replication deficient adenoviruses (Ad) have been widely evaluated as recombinant vectors, particularly in the context of prophylactic vaccination against viral infections in which induction of CD8+ T-cell mediated immunity is crucial, but potent antibody responses may also be elicited using these vectors. In this study, we present two adenobased vectors targeting non-structural and structural YF antigens and characterize their immunological properties. We report that a single immunization with an Ad-vector encoding the non-structural protein 3 from YF-17D could elicit a strong CD8+ T-cell response, which afforded a high degree of protection from subsequent intracranial challenge of vaccinated mice. However, full protection was only observed using a vector encoding the structural proteins from YF-17D. This vector elicited virus-specific CD8+ T cells as well as neutralizing antibodies, and both components were shown to be important for protection thus mimicking the situation recently uncovered in YF-17D vaccinated mice. Considering that Ad-vectors are very safe, easy to produce and highly immunogenic in humans, our data indicate that a replication deficient adenovector-based YF vaccine may represent a safe and efficient alternative to the classical live attenuated YF vaccine and should be further tested.
Project description:Zika virus: Zika virus chimeric vaccineZika virus (ZIKV) infection generally results in mild symptoms but can cause serious developmental abnormalities in infants born to ZIKV infected mothers. Kai Dallmeier and colleagues at the KU Leuven in Belgium, engineered a chimeric live-attenuated vaccine (YF-ZIKprM/E) by swapping the glycoprotein from the Yellow Fever vaccine YFV-17D with that of a pre-epidemic ZIKV strain. YF-ZIKprM/E is very well tolerated with no adverse effects even following high dose intracranial infection. Mice highly susceptible to ZIKV infection—including AG129 and type I interferon receptor deficient strains—vaccinated with a single dose of YF-ZIKprM/E are fully protected from lethal ZIKV challenge. Protection can be achieved within 7 days and by low doses of YF-ZIKprM/E, is durable and generally results in sterilizing immunity. YF-ZIKprM/E elicits both neutralizing antibodies and robust cellular immunity. Finally, YF-ZIKprM/E can also prevent vertical transmission of ZIKV and achieve efficient protection of pups from neurological defects following intraplacental challenge.
Project description:Mosquito-borne yellow fever virus (YFV) causes highly lethal, viscerotropic disease in humans and non-human primates. Despite the availability of efficacious live-attenuated vaccine strains, 17D-204 and 17DD, derived by serial passage of pathogenic YFV strain Asibi, YFV continues to pose a significant threat to human health. Neither the disease caused by wild-type YFV, nor the molecular determinants of vaccine attenuation and immunogenicity, have been well characterized, in large part due to the lack of a small animal model for viscerotropic YFV infection. Here, we describe a small animal model for wild-type YFV that manifests clinical disease representative of that seen in primates without adaptation of the virus to the host, which was required for the current hamster YF model. Investigation of the role of type I interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) in protection of mice from viscerotropic YFV infection revealed that mice deficient in the IFN-alpha/beta receptor (A129) or the STAT1 signaling molecule (STAT129) were highly susceptible to infection and disease, succumbing within 6-7 days. Importantly, these animals developed viscerotropic disease reminiscent of human YF, instead of the encephalitic signs typically observed in mice. Rapid viremic dissemination and extensive replication in visceral organs, spleen and liver, was associated with severe pathologies in these tissues and dramatically elevated MCP-1 and IL-6 levels, suggestive of a cytokine storm. In striking contrast, infection of A129 and STAT129 mice with the 17D-204 vaccine virus was subclinical, similar to immunization in humans. Although, like wild-type YFV, 17D-204 virus amplified within regional lymph nodes and seeded a serum viremia in A129 mice, infection of visceral organs was rarely established and rapidly cleared, possibly by type II IFN-dependent mechanisms. The ability to establish systemic infection and cause viscerotropic disease in A129 mice correlated with infectivity for A129-derived, but not WT129-derived, macrophages and dendritic cells in vitro, suggesting a role for these cells in YFV pathogenesis. We conclude that the ability of wild-type YFV to evade and/or disable components of the IFN-alpha/beta response may be primate-specific such that infection of mice with a functional IFN-alpha/beta antiviral response is attenuated. Consequently, subcutaneous YFV infection of A129 mice represents a biologically relevant model for studying viscerotropic infection and disease development following wild-type virus inoculation, as well as mechanisms of 17D-204 vaccine attenuation, without a requirement for adaptation of the virus.
Project description:Objectives:T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are the principal T helper cell subset that provides help to B cells for potent antibody responses against various pathogens. In this study, we took advantage of the live-attenuated yellow fever virus (YFV) vaccine strain, YF-17D, as a model system for studying human antiviral immune responses in vivo following exposure to an acute primary virus challenge under safe and highly controlled conditions, to comprehensively analyse the dynamics of circulating Tfh (cTfh) cells. Methods:We tracked and analysed the response of cTfh and other T and B cell subsets in peripheral blood of healthy volunteers by flow cytometry over the course of 4 weeks after YF-17D vaccination. Results:Using surface staining of cell activation markers to track YFV-specific T cells, we found increasing cTfh cell frequencies starting at day 3 and peaking around 2 weeks after YF-17D vaccination. This kinetic was confirmed in a subgroup of donors using MHC multimer staining for four known MHC class II epitopes of YF-17D. The subset composition of cTfh cells changed dynamically during the course of the immune response and was dominated by the cTfh1-polarised subpopulation. Importantly, frequencies of cTfh1 cells correlated with the strength of the neutralising antibody response, whereas frequencies of cTfh17 cells were inversely correlated. Conclusion:In summary, we describe detailed cTfh kinetics during YF-17D vaccination. Our results suggest that cTfh expansion and polarisation can serve as a prognostic marker for vaccine success. These insights may be leveraged in the future to improve current vaccine design and strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To be transmitted to vertebrate hosts via the saliva of their vectors, arthropod-borne viruses have to cross several barriers in the mosquito body, including the midgut infection and escape barriers. Yellow fever virus (YFV) belongs to the genus Flavivirus, which includes human viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, such as dengue and Zika viruses. The live-attenuated YFV-17D vaccine has been used safely and efficiently on a large scale since the end of World War II. Early studies have shown, using viral titration from salivary glands of infected mosquitoes, that YFV-17D can infect Aedes aegypti midgut, but does not disseminate to other tissues. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Here, we re-visited this issue using a panel of techniques, such as RT-qPCR, Western blot, immunofluorescence and titration assays. We showed that YFV-17D replication was not efficient in Aedes aegypti midgut, as compared to the clinical isolate YFV-Dakar. Viruses that replicated in the midgut failed to disseminate to secondary organs. When injected into the thorax of mosquitoes, viruses succeeded in replicating into midgut-associated tissues, suggesting that, during natural infection, the block for YFV-17D replication occurs at the basal membrane of the midgut. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:The two barriers associated with Ae. aegypti midgut prevent YFV-17D replication. Our study contributes to our basic understanding of vector-pathogen interactions and may also aid in the development of non-transmissible live virus vaccines.