Immunization of Monkeys with Baculovirus-Dengue Type-4 Recombinants Containing Envelope and Nonstructural Proteins: Evidence of Priming and Partial Protection

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  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, University of Rochester, School of Medicine, Institute for Biological Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, University of Massachusetts, School of Medicine, U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Washington, District of Columbia, Israel

Groups of rhesus monkeys were immunized with baculovirus-dengue type-4 (DEN-4) recombinant-infected cell extracts. One recombinant contained all of the DEN-4 structural proteins and two nonstructural (NS) proteins (C-M-E-NS1-NS2a), while the other was a fusion protein containing a portion of the respiratory syncytial virus G glycoprotein and DEN-4 envelope glycoprotein (RSVG-E). Both preparations were immunogenic; all monkeys receiving either immunogen responded with the production of anti-virion antibodies in enzyme immunoassays. All except one monkey receiving the recombinant b(C-M-E-NS1-NS2a) made antibodies to NS1. One monkey that received b(RSVG-E) showed the production of low levels of neutralizing antibodies. Following challenge with unmodified DEN-4 virus, seven of nine monkeys in the immunized group became infected and were viremic for a mean of 4.1 days. The control, sham-inoculated monkeys were also viremic; the mean number of days of viremia in this group was 4.7 days. The remaining monkeys in the immunized group (n = 7), although not protected, had evidence of priming. Hemagglutination inhibition antibody responses following challenge indicated an anamnestic response in this group of animals. Based on these results, it was concluded that future immunization schedules should be altered to optimize immune responses and that immunization with more potent and purified immunogens would probably result in higher seroconversion rates and antibody levels in monkeys.

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