New generation of African horse sickness virus vaccines based on structural and molecular studies of the virus particles
African horse sickness virus (AHSV) is a member of the genus Orbivirus, which also includes bluetongue virus (BTV) and epizootic haemorrhagic disease (EHDV) virus. These orbiviruses have similar morphological and biochemical properties, with distinctive pathobiological properties and host ranges. Sequencing studies of the capsid proteins have revealed evolutionary relationships between these viruses. Biochemical studies of the viruses together with the expression of individual proteins and protein complexes have resulted in the development of new generation vaccines. Baculovirus expressed AHSV VP2 provides protection against death caused by AHSV challenge. Similarly, BTV VP2 alone elicits protective neutralising antibodies against BTV in sheep, which is enhanced in the presence of VP5. Recent developments in biotechnology (multiple gene expression baculovirus systems) have made it possible to synthesise orbivirus particles that biochemically and immunologically mimic authentic virions but lack the genetic material. Particle doses as low as 10 μg elicit responses that are sufficient to protect sheep 15 months post vaccination, against virulent virus challenge. Moreover, knowledge of the three dimensional structure of these particles enables us to engineer them to deliver multiple foreign peptide components representing other viral epitopes (e.g. foot and mouth disease virus and influenza virus) in order to elicit protective immunity.
KeywordsRecombinant Baculovirus Major Capsid Protein Neutralize Antibody Titer Recombinant Baculoviruses Bluetongue Virus
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