By H. J. Bensted, W. Bulloch, L. Dudgeon, A. G. Gardner, E. D. W. Greig, D. Harvey, W. F. Harvey, T. J. Mackie, R. A. O'Brien, H. M. Perry, H. Scutze, P. Bruce White, W. J. Wilson. London, 1929. His Majesty's Stationery Office. Pp. 1–482
by A. Trevor Willis, M.D., B.S. (Melb.), Ph.D. (Leeds), M.C.Path., M.C.P.A., Reader in Microbiology, Monash University, formerly Lecturer in Bacteriology, University of Leeds. xiv + 234 pages, illustrated, second edition. Butterworth Inc., Washington. 1965. $8.50
A recombinant protein containing part of the dengue (DEN) 2 envelope protein was evaluated as a subunit immunogen for vaccination against DEN virus infection. A gene fragment encoding amino acids 298-400 (B domain) of the DEN-2 virus envelope was expressed as a fusion protein with the maltose binding protein (MBP) of Escherichia coli. This recombinant, DEN-2(B)/MBP, was purified and analyzed for its antigenicity, immunogenicity, and ability to protect mice against lethal challenge. The recombinant antigen reacted with a DEN-2 type-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibody (3H5), DEN-2 hyperimmune mouse ascitic fluid, and DEN-2 immune human sera. When administered to mice, DEN-2(B)/MBP elicited a DEN-2 virus neutralizing antibody response that conferred partial protection against challenge infection with a lethal dose of DEN-2 virus administered by intracranial inoculation. In addition, no replication of DEN-2 virus was detectable in the brains of the immunized mice as compared with control mice that were killed six days after challenge. Sera from immunized mice revealed no cross-neutralizing antibody to any of the other DEN serotypes in the plaque-reduction neutralization test. These findings warrant further studies with the DEN-2(B)/MBP antigen as a potential human vaccine candidate. An effective vaccine could prevent thousands of cases of illness and many deaths each year resulting from DEN virus infections.