Growth characteristics of ChimeriVax-DEN2 vaccine virus in Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

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  • 1 Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522, USA.

The chimeric yellow fever (YF) 17D-dengue type 2 (ChimeriVax-DEN2) vaccine virus developed by Acambis, Inc. (Cambridge, MA) contains the prM and E genes of wild-type (wt) dengue 2 (DEN-2) (strain PUO-218) virus in the YF vaccine virus (strain 17D) backbone. The potential of ChimeriVax-DEN2 virus to infect and be transmitted by Aedes aegypti, the principal DEN and YF virus mosquito vector, and Aedes albopictus, a species that occurs in areas of active transmission of YF and DEN viruses, was evaluated. Mosquitoes were intrathoracically (IT) inoculated with virus or were fed a virus-laden blood meal, and the replication kinetics of ChimeriVax-DEN2 were compared with the wt DEN-2 and YF 17D vaccine viruses. Replication of YF 17D virus is attenuated in cultured Ae. albopictus C6/36 mosquito cells and in Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. Growth of ChimeriVax-DEN2 virus similarly was restricted in C6/36 cells and in mosquitoes. ChimeriVax-DEN2 replicated in 56% of IT inoculated Ae. aegypti, and virus disseminated to head tissue in 36%, with a mean viral titer of 1.8 log10 PFU/mosquito. Of mosquitoes, 16% of Ae. aegypti and 24% of Ae. albopictus were infected 14 days after a blood meal containing ChimeriVax-DEN2, but virus did not disseminate to head tissue. In contrast, DEN-2 replicated in all IT inoculated and orally infected Ae. aegypti (mean titer 5.5 log10 PFU/mosquito), and virus disseminated to head tissue in 95%. Of Ae. albopictus, 84% were infected after a blood meal containing DEN-2 virus; dissemination occurred in 36%. Replication of ChimeriVax-DEN2 virus in mosquitoes corresponded to that of YF 17D vaccine virus, which is restricted in its ability to infect and replicate in mosquitoes. Therefore, transmission of ChimeriVax-DEN2 virus by vector mosquitoes is unlikely.