Novel delivery of a live-attenuated chikungunya virus vaccine candidate Adam Taylor1*, Suresh Mahalingam1, Ali Zaid1, Kothila Tharmarajah1, Mehfuz Zaman1, Helen Mostafavi1, Joseph Freitas1. 1Griffith University, Southport, QLD, Australia *Corresponding Author Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus that causes outbreaks of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease. The disease causes highly debilitating arthritis that can persist for months or years. Alphaviruses related to CHIKV, e.g. Ross River virus (endemic in Australia & Pacific) cause similar incapacitating musculoskeletal disease. There are no CHIKV antivirals, nor is there a licensed vaccine. We have developed a live-attenuated CHIKV vaccine candidate, CHIKV-NoLS. CHIKV-NoLS immunised mice are protected from CHIKV infection. Additionally, this vaccine shows cross-protection against Ross River virus. A live-attenuated vaccine is a desirable means of disease prevention due to ease of production, low cost and avoidance of multiple boosters. However, propagation of CHIKV-NoLS is limited by its attenuated replication. Removing this bottleneck in production would greatly benefit CHIKV-NoLS development. The investigation described here aims to bypass in vitro propagation by using a novel delivery method, allowing for in vivo inoculation. Results suggest delivery of CHIKV-NoLS using this methodology in mice elicits de novo CHIKV-NoLS particle production in vivo. Mice immunised using this strategy develop long-term protection from CHIKV disease.
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