DNA Vaccine Candidate May Protect Against Mayaro Virus

ScMAYV-E vaccine candidate induced robust MAYV-specific immune responses in mice

Trinidad memorial light house and forests beyond

Researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases say they have successfully developed a novel vaccine candidate capable of inducing protective immunity against the mosquito-borne Mayaro virus. 

Mayaro virus (MAYV) is classified in the Semliki Forest virus antigenic complex and shares similarities with the alphavirus Chikungunya virus and the flavivirus Dengue virus.

The scMAYV-E vaccine candidate induced robust MAYV-specific immune responses in mice, including both MAYV infection-neutralizing antibodies as well as cellular responses to multiple regions of MAYV-E. 

Importantly, the scMAYV-E vaccine provided complete protection from death and clinical signs of infection in a MAYV-challenge mouse model. 

"The robust immunogenicity of the scMAYV-E vaccine demonstrated here supports the need for further testing of this vaccine as a viable means to halt the spread of this virus and protect individuals at risk from MAYV disease," the researchers said in a press release.  

"DNA vaccines have a remarkable safety record in numerous clinical trials, can be designed and manufactured readily, and distributed cost-effectively, making them an important tool for combating emerging infectious diseases like MAYV especially in resource-poor settings, where they often arise." 

Infections by the MAYV have largely been restricted to people who ventured into the heavily forested areas of Trinidad and Tobago and neighboring regions of South America. 

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This mice study may be important since recent studies showed the virus may expand into the tropical regions of the Caribbean and Central and South America. 

Some people who contract MAYV develop recurrent joint pain that can last for months after the initial infection, and may cause fever, rash, headache, nausea, and vomiting. 

Mayaro virus is an enveloped RNA virus belonging to the Togaviridae family and Alphavirus genus. This arthropod-borne virus is similar to Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika virus.

The term “ChikDenMaZika syndrome” has been coined for clinically suspected arboviruses, which have arisen as a consequence of the high viral burden, viral co-infection, and co-circulation in South America. 

These researchers reported various industry relationships.