Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Novel Approach to Rabies Vaccines

Yongjun Wen and colleagues at the University of Georgia, Athens have a new and clever proposition for a Rabies virus vaccine: engineering viruses with an immunological beacon.

As discussed in the paper, the current state of the Rabies vaccine is not ideal. At least four doses must be administered over the course of two weeks at a high cost ($600 for four shots), local reactions and extreme inaccessibility to developing countries. Recent endeavors have been made in attempt to combat these issues.

Previous research by this group provided evidence that recruitment and/or activation of dendritic cells (DCs), the most effective antigen-producing cell, is important in enhancing the immune response against Rabies Virus (RABV). In this present study, they go on to engineer recombinant viruses(rRABV) with different immunologic "beacons" (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor [GM-CSF], macrophage-derived chemokine [MDC], macrophage inflammatory protein 1 [MIP-1]) that recruit and/or activate DCs.

Using both in vitro and in vivo techniques, the rRABVs were shown to induce maturation (differentiation from monocytes to immature DCs) and activation of DCs from mouse marrow, induce in vivo recruitment and activation of DCs and other immune cells upon rRABVs intramuscular injection, and confer greater immunogenicity without causing an increase in virulence or obvious clinical symptoms. From these data, Wen et al. go on to propose applying rRABVs in vaccines.

Yongjun Wen, Hualei Wang, Hua Wu, Fuhe Yang, Ralph A. Tripp, Robert J. Hogan, and Zhen F. Fu. Rabies Virus Expressing Dendritic Cell-Activating Molecules Enhances the Innate and Adaptive Immune Response to Vaccination. J. Virol. February 2011 85: 1634-1644.

Direct link:

Also, regarding the photo, here is the unintentionally hilarious context I discovered while googling for Rabies images:

- Vy Tran

1 comment:

  1. So my major critiques of this paper is that they diid not challenge the crude "vaccinated " mice by exposing them to WT rabies virus post-innoculation. Nor did they examine the actual effects of viral-expressed CSF/MDC/MIP-1 on the virus. I'm curious to know what the virus does with these foreign proteins as well as how effective this would be applied to organisms with more observable, quantifiable markers of a rabies infection (i.e. histological proof and longer term neurological observations).