Emergence and Reemergence of Vaccinia-Like Viruses: Global Scenario and Perspectives


Among the members of the genus Orthopoxvirus (OPXV), vaccinia virus (VACV), the type species of the genus is a double-stranded DNA virus, belongs to the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae of the family Poxviridae. The causative agents of smallpox, VACV and Variola virus are mutually immunogenic and the type species of Orthopoxvirus, cause only mild complications in humans. Therefore, the VACV was used as a smallpox vaccine world over under mass immunization program promoted by World Health Organization, which lead to the variola eradication globally in 1979. Since then, no vaccination of human population has been carried out; however, vaccination has been continued for at-risk laboratory workers, military personnel and others working with recombinant VACV or other non-variola orthopoxviruses (OPXVs). There has now been a surge in the development of safer smallpox vaccines and understanding of the biology of VACV necessitating re-use of this vaccine in most vulnerable population, because of rise in bioterrorist threats globally. Also, globally there has been the emergence and re-emergence of vaccinia-like viruses (VLVs) in Brazil, buffalopox viruses in Egypt, Indonesia, India and its neighbouring countries like Nepal, Pakistan. Bioterrorism as well as emergence and re-emergence of the VLVs constitute a concern as 50 % of the population globally (40 % in USA) <30 years are unvaccinated and most vulnerable for smallpox reemergence. Thus, the search for new generation safer smallpox vaccine entails review of biology of VLVs in the smallpox-free world. In this review, we present occurrence of VLVs in the world with exhaustive discussion particularly on the emergence and re-emergence of these viruses in India and Brazil where VLVs are sufficiently studied.

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The authors thank the Director for providing necessary support and ICAR for providing fund and required support to carry out the work.

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Singh, R.K., Balamurugan, V., Bhanuprakash, V. et al. Emergence and Reemergence of Vaccinia-Like Viruses: Global Scenario and Perspectives. Indian J. Virol. 23, 1–11 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13337-012-0068-1

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  • Vaccinia virus
  • Vaccinia-like viruses
  • Buffalopox
  • Emergence and reemergence
  • Zoonosis