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Development of Antibody Therapeutics against Flaviviruses

Description

Recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) highlight the urgent need to develop efficacious interventions against flaviviruses, many of which cause devastating epidemics around the world. Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) have been

Recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) highlight the urgent need to develop efficacious interventions against flaviviruses, many of which cause devastating epidemics around the world. Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) have been at the forefront of treatment for cancer and a wide array of other diseases due to their specificity and potency. While mammalian cell-produced mAbs have shown promise as therapeutic candidates against several flaviviruses, their eventual approval for human application still faces several challenges including their potential risk of predisposing treated patients to more severe secondary infection by a heterologous flavivirus through antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). The high cost associated with mAb production in mammalian cell cultures also poses a challenge for the feasible application of these drugs to the developing world where the majority of flavivirus infection occurs. Here, we review the current therapeutic mAb candidates against various flaviviruses including West Nile (WNV), Dengue virus (DENV), and ZIKV. The progress of using plants for developing safer and more economical mAb therapeutics against flaviviruses is discussed within the context of their expression, characterization, downstream processing, neutralization, and in vivo efficacy. The progress of using plant glycoengineering to address ADE, the major impediment of flavivirus therapeutic development, is highlighted. These advancements suggest that plant-based systems are excellent alternatives for addressing the remaining challenges of mAb therapeutic development against flavivirus and may facilitate the eventual commercialization of these drug candidates.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12-25

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Virus-like particles that display Zika virus envelope protein domain III induce potent neutralizing immune responses in mice

Description

Several Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine candidates have recently been described which use inactivated whole virus, DNA or RNA that express the virus’ Envelope (E) glycoprotein as the antigen. These were

Several Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine candidates have recently been described which use inactivated whole virus, DNA or RNA that express the virus’ Envelope (E) glycoprotein as the antigen. These were successful in stimulating production of virus-targeted antibodies that protected animals against ZIKV challenges, but their use potentially will predispose vaccinated individuals to infection by the related Dengue virus (DENV). We have devised a virus like particle (VLP) carrier based on the hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) that displays the ZIKV E protein domain III (zDIII), and shown that it can be produced quickly and easily purified in large quantities from Nicotiana benthamiana plants. HBcAg-zDIII VLPs are shown to be highly immunogenic, as two doses elicited potent humoral and cellular responses in mice that exceed the threshold correlated with protective immunity against multiple strains of Zika virus. Notably, HBcAg-zDIII VLPs-elicited antibodies did not enhance the infection of DENV in Fc gamma receptor-expressing cells, offsetting the concern of ZIKV vaccines inducing cross-reactive antibodies and sensitizing people to subsequent DENV infection. Thus, our zDIII-based vaccine offers improved safety and lower cost production than other current alternatives, with equivalent effectiveness.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-08-09