Infectious Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV) with a Complete Capsid Deletion: a New Approach for a CHIKV Vaccine.


Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei, China [Email]


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes epidemics of debilitating disease worldwide. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or antivirals available against CHIKV infection. In this study, we generated a novel live attenuated vaccine (LAV) candidate for CHIKV with a complete deficiency of capsid (ΔC-CHIKV). It could propagate in BHK-21 cells, and had antigenic properties similar to those of native CHIKV. Vaccination of either immunocompromised IFNAR-/- mice or immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice with a single dose of ΔC-CHIKV conferred complete protection upon challenge with wild-type (WT) CHIKV. Taken together, this vaccine candidate appeared to be safe and efficacious, representing a novel strategy for CHIKV vaccine design.IMPORTANCE Currently, there is no licensed vaccine against CHIKV infection. An ideal CHIKV vaccine should generate an optimal balance between efficacy and safety. Live attenuated vaccines that can elicit strong immune responses often involve a trade-off of reduced safety. Here, a novel live attenuated vaccine candidate for CHIKV lacking the entire capsid gene, ΔC-CHIKV, was developed. It was demonstrated to be genetically stable, highly attenuated, immunogenic, and able to confer complete protection against lethal CHIKV challenge after a single dose of immunization. Such an infectious vaccine candidate devoid of capsid provides a novel strategy for the development of a live attenuated CHIKV vaccine.


alphavirus,capsid,chikungunya virus,vaccines,