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High degree of correlation between Ebola virus BSL-4 neutralization assays and pseudotyped VSV BSL-2 fluorescence reduction neutralization test

Konduru, Krishnamurthy, Shurtleff, Amy C., Bavari, Sina, Kaplan, Gerardo
Journal of virological methods 2018 v.254 pp. 1-7
Ebolavirus, Vesiculovirus, clinical trials, fluorescence, genes, glycoproteins, green fluorescent protein, humans, luciferase, morbidity, mortality, neutralization, neutralization tests, neutralizing antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, risk reduction, therapeutics, vaccine development, vaccines, viruses, Western Africa
Ebola virus (EBOV), classified as a category A agent by the CDC and NIH, requires BSL-4 containment and induces high morbidity and mortality in humans. The 2013–2015 epidemic in West Africa underscored the urgent need to develop vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat EBOV disease. Neutralization assays are needed to evaluate the efficacy of EBOV vaccines and antibody therapies. Pseudotyped viruses based on nonpathogenic or attenuated vectors reduce the risks involved in the evaluation of neutralizing antibodies against highly pathogenic viruses. Selectable markers, fluorescent proteins, and luciferase have been introduced into pseudotyped viruses for detection and quantitation purposes. The current study describes the development of a BSL-2 fluorescence reduction neutralization test (FRNT) using a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in which the VSV-G envelope gene was replaced with the EBOV glycoprotein (GP) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) genes (rVSV-EBOVgp-GFP). Cells infected with rVSV-EBOVgp-GFP express GFP. Anti-GP neutralizing monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies blocked rVSV-EBOVgp-GFP infection preventing or reducing GFP fluorescence. The high degree of correlation between the EBOV BSL-2 FRNT and the BSL-4 plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT), the accepted standard of EBOV neutralization tests, supports the use of the EBOV BSL-2 FRNT to evaluate neutralizing antibodies in clinical trials.