Volume 62, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus vaccine candidate, ChimeriVax-JE, which consists of a yellow fever (YF) 17D virus backbone containing the prM and E genes from the JE vaccine strain JE SA14--14--2, exhibits restricted replication in non-human primates, producing only a low-level viremia following peripheral inoculation. Although this reduces the likelihood that hematophagous insects could become infected by feeding on a vaccinated host, it is prudent to investigate the replication kinetics of the vaccine virus in mosquito species that are known to vector the viruses from which the chimera is derived. In this study ChimeriVax-JE virus was compared to its parent viruses, as well as to wild-type JE virus, for its ability to replicate in Culex tritaeniorhynchus, Aedes albopictus, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Individual mosquitoes were exposed to the viruses by oral ingestion of a virus-laden blood meal or by intrathoracic (IT) virus inoculation. ChimeriVax-JE virus did not replicate following ingestion by any of the three mosquito species. Additionally, replication was not detected after IT inoculation of ChimeriVax-JE in the primary JE virus vector, Cx. tritaeniorhynchus. ChimeriVax-JE exhibited moderate growth following IT inoculation into Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, reaching titers of 3.6-5.0 log(10) PFU/mosquito. There was no change in the virus genotype associated with replication in mosquitoes. Similar results were observed in mosquitoes of all three species that were IT inoculated or had orally ingested the YF 17D vaccine virus. In contrast, all mosquitoes either IT inoculated with or orally fed wild-type and vaccine JE viruses became infected, reaching maximum titers of 5.4-7.3 log(10) PFU/mosquito. These results indicate that ChimeriVax-JE virus is restricted in its ability to infect and replicate in these mosquito vectors. The low viremia caused by ChimeriVax-JE in primates and poor infectivity for mosquitoes are safeguards against secondary spread of the vaccine virus.


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