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Description and characterization of a novel live-attenuated tri-segmented Machupo virus in Guinea pigs

Zaza, Amélie D., Herbreteau, Cécile H., Peyrefitte, Christophe N.
Virology journal 2018 v.15 no.1 pp. 99
Junin virus, Machupo virus, blood, cell culture, disease incidence, etiological agents, fever, guinea pigs, humans, mutation, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), therapeutics, vaccines, virion, viruses, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela
BACKGROUND: Machupo virus (MACV) is a member of the Mammarenavirus genus, Arenaviridae family and is the etiologic agent of Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, which causes small outbreaks or sporadic cases. Several other arenaviruses in South America Junín virus (JUNV) in Argentina, Guanarito in Venezuela, Sabiá in Brazil and Chapare in Bolivia, also are responsible for human hemorrhagic fevers. Among these arenaviruses, JUNV caused thousands of human cases until 1991, when the live attenuated Candid #1 vaccine, was used. Other than Candid #1 vaccine, few other therapeutic or prophylactic treatments exist. Therefore, new strategies for production of safe countermeasures with broad spectrum activity are needed. FINDINGS: We tested a tri-segmented MACV, a potential vaccine candidate with several mutations, (r3MACV). In cell culture, r3MACV showed a 2-log reduction in infectious virus particle production and the MACV inhibition of INF-1β was removed from the construct and produced by infected cells. Furthermore, in an animal experiment, r3MACV was able to protect 50% of guinea pigs from a simultaneous lethal JUNV challenge. Protected animals didn’t display clinical symptoms nor were virus particles found in peripheral blood (day 14) or in organs (day 28 post-inoculation). The r3MACV provided a higher protection than the Candid #1 vaccine. CONCLUSIONS: The r3MACV provides a potential countermeasure against two South America arenaviruses responsible of human hemorrhagic fever.