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Concept: Mononegavirales


BACKGROUND: Australia uses a protocol combining human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) and rabies vaccine for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) of rabies and Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV), with the aim of achieving an antibody titre of ≥0.5 IU/ml, as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, as soon as possible. METHODOLOGYPRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We present the course of PEP administration and serological testing for four men with complex requirements. Following dog bites in Thailand, two men (62 years old, 25 years old) received no HRIG and had delayed vaccine courses: 23 days between dose two and three, and 18 days between dose one and two, respectively. Both seroconverted following dose four. Another 62-year-old male, who was HIV-positive (normal CD4 count), also suffered a dog bite and had delayed care receiving IM rabies vaccine on days six and nine in Thailand. Back in Australia, he received three single and one double dose IM vaccines followed by another double dose of vaccine, delivered intradermally and subcutaneously, before seroconverting. A 23-year-old male with a history of allergies received simultaneous HRIG and vaccine following potential ABLV exposure, and developed rash, facial oedema and throat tingling, which was treated with a parenteral antihistamine and tapering dose of steroids. Serology showed he seroconverted following dose four. CONCLUSIONSSIGNIFICANCE: These cases show that PEP can be complicated by exposures in tourist settings where reliable prophylaxis may not be available, where treatment is delayed or deviates from World Health Organization recommendations. Due to the potentially short incubation time of rabies/ABLV, timely prophylaxis after a potential exposure is needed to ensure a prompt and adequate immune response, particularly in patients who are immune-suppressed or who have not received HRIG. Serology should be used to confirm an adequate response to PEP when treatment is delayed or where a concurrent immunosuppressing medical condition or therapy exists.

Concepts: HIV, Immune system, Antibody, Rabies, Serology, Mononegavirales, Lyssavirus, Seroconversion


In 1967, a woman became ill after exposure to a newly discovered pathogen that we now call Marburg virus, a member of the family Filoviridae (filoviruses), to which Ebola virus also belongs.(1) Testing of the semen of her husband, who had recovered from the disease 6 weeks previously, determined that her exposure was through sexual intercourse. This was the first confirmed case of sexual transmission of filovirus disease from a convalescent man. It was also the last…until recently. In March 2015, Ebola virus disease (EVD) developed in a Liberian woman after the country had been free from EVD for 30 . . .

Concepts: Microbiology, Ebola, Marburg virus, Mononegavirales, Viral hemorrhagic fever, Incubation period, Filoviridae, Hemorrhagic fevers


The 2013-15 Ebola outbreak was unprecedented due to sustained transmission within urban environments and thousands of survivors. In 2014 the World Health Organization stated that there was insufficient evidence to give definitive guidance about which body fluids are infectious and when they pose a risk to humans. We report a rapid systematic review of published evidence on the presence of filoviruses in body fluids of infected people and survivors.

Concepts: Infection, Pandemic, World Health Organization, Ebola, Marburg virus, Mononegavirales, Viral hemorrhagic fever, Filoviridae


Background The replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine expressing a Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) glycoprotein was selected for rapid safety and immunogenicity testing before its use in West Africa. Methods We performed three open-label, dose-escalation phase 1 trials and one randomized, double-blind, controlled phase 1 trial to assess safety, side-effect profile, and immunogenicity of rVSV-ZEBOV at various doses in 158 healthy adults in Europe and Africa. All participants were injected with doses of vaccine ranging from 300,000 to 50 million plaque-forming units (PFU) or placebo. Results No serious vaccine-related adverse events were reported. Mild-to-moderate early-onset reactogenicity was frequent but transient (median, 1 day). Fever was observed in up to 35% of vaccinees. Vaccine viremia was detected within 3 days in 103 of 110 participants (94%) receiving 3 million PFU or more; rVSV was not detected in saliva or urine. In the second week after injection, arthritis affecting one to four joints developed in 11 of 51 participants (22%) in Geneva, with pain lasting a median of 8 days; 2 self-limited cases occurred in 40 participants (5%) in Hamburg, Germany, and Kilifi, Kenya. The virus was identified in one synovial-fluid aspirate and in skin vesicles of 2 other vaccinees, showing peripheral viral replication in the second week after immunization. ZEBOV-glycoprotein-specific antibody responses were detected in all the participants, with similar glycoprotein-binding antibody titers but significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers at higher doses. Conclusions In these studies, rVSV-ZEBOV was reactogenic but immunogenic after a single dose and warrants further evaluation for safety and efficacy. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others; numbers, NCT02283099 , NCT02287480 , and NCT02296983 ; Pan African Clinical Trials Registry number, PACTR201411000919191 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Clinical trial, Microbiology, Africa, Immunology, Mononegavirales, Vesicular stomatitis virus


The 2013-2016 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa was the most widespread in history. In response, alive attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vaccine expressing Zaire Ebolavirus glycoprotein (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP) was evaluated in humans.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Microbiology, Africa, Ebola, Mononegavirales, Viral hemorrhagic fever


Biological factors that influence the host range and spillover of Ebola virus (EBOV) and other filoviruses remain enigmatic. While filoviruses infect diverse mammalian cell lines, we report that cells from African straw-colored fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) are refractory to EBOV infection. This could be explained by a single amino acid change in the filovirus receptor, NPC1, which greatly reduces the affinity of EBOV-NPC1 interaction. We found signatures of positive selection in bat NPC1 concentrated at the virus-receptor interface, with the strongest signal at the same residue that controls EBOV infection in Eidolon helvum cells. Our work identifies NPC1 as a genetic determinant of filovirus susceptibility in bats, and suggests that some NPC1 variations reflect host adaptations to reduce filovirus replication and virulence. A single viral mutation afforded escape from receptor control, revealing a pathway for compensatory viral evolution and a potential avenue for expansion of filovirus host range in nature.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Genetics, Natural selection, Evolution, Virus, Marburg virus, Mononegavirales


Background The current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak has resulted in more than 24,000 cases and 10,000 deaths. We present a preliminary report from two phase 1 trials of an attenuated, replication-competent, recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine candidate to prevent EVD. Methods We conducted two phase 1, placebo-controlled, double-blind, dose-escalation trials of an rVSV-based vaccine candidate expressing the glycoprotein of a Zaire strain of Ebola virus (ZEBOV). A total of 26 adults at each site (52 participants in all) were consecutively enrolled into groups of 13 each. Three volunteers in each group received an intramuscular injection of placebo, and 10 received an intramuscular injection of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine at a dose of either 3 million plaque-forming units (PFU) or 20 million PFU. Safety and immunogenicity were assessed for the 28 days after vaccination. Results The most common adverse events were injection-site pain, myalgia, and fatigue; no events resulted in withdrawal from the study. Transient VSV viremia was noted in all the vaccine recipients. By day 28, all the vaccine recipients had seroconversion as assessed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) against the glycoprotein of the ZEBOV-Kikwit strain. At day 28, geometric mean titers of antibodies against ZEBOV glycoprotein were higher in the group receiving 20 million PFU than in the group receiving 3 million PFU, as assessed by ELISA (geometric mean antibody titer, 4079 vs. 1300; P<0.001) and by pseudovirion neutralization assay (geometric mean antibody titer, 441 vs. 223; P=0.07). Conclusions No safety concerns were identified after a single administration of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine candidate, and anti-Ebola immune responses were identified in all the volunteers. VSV viremia was detected but was of limited duration. These preliminary results support the further development of the vaccine dose of 20 million PFU. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP numbers, NCT02269423 and NCT02280408 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Microbiology, Immunology, ELISA, ELISPOT, Ebola, Mononegavirales


Background The safety and efficacy of vaccines to prevent Ebola virus disease (EVD) were unknown when the incidence of EVD was peaking in Liberia. Methods We initiated a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial of the chimpanzee adenovirus 3 vaccine (ChAd3-EBO-Z) and the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vaccine (rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP) in Liberia. A phase 2 subtrial was embedded to evaluate safety and immunogenicity. Because the incidence of EVD declined in Liberia, the phase 2 component was expanded and the phase 3 component was eliminated. Results A total of 1500 adults underwent randomization and were followed for 12 months. The median age of the participants was 30 years; 36.6% of the participants were women. During the week after the administration of vaccine or placebo, adverse events occurred significantly more often with the active vaccines than with placebo; these events included injection-site reactions (in 28.5% of the patients in the ChAd3-EBO-Z group and 30.9% of those in the rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP group, as compared with 6.8% of those in the placebo group), headache (in 25.1% and 31.9%, vs. 16.9%), muscle pain (in 22.3% and 26.9%, vs. 13.3%), feverishness (in 23.9% and 30.5%, vs. 9.0%), and fatigue (in 14.0% and 15.4%, vs. 8.8%) (P<0.001 for all comparisons); these differences were not seen at 1 month. Serious adverse events within 12 months after injection were seen in 40 participants (8.0%) in the ChAd3-EBO-Z group, in 47 (9.4%) in the rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP group, and in 59 (11.8%) in the placebo group. By 1 month, an antibody response developed in 70.8% of the participants in the ChAd3-EBO-Z group and in 83.7% of those in the rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP group, as compared with 2.8% of those in the placebo group (P<0.001 for both comparisons). At 12 months, antibody responses in participants in the ChAd3-EBO-Z group (63.5%) and in those in the rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP group (79.5%) remained significantly greater than in those in the placebo group (6.8%, P<0.001 for both comparisons). Conclusions A randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial of two vaccines that was rapidly initiated and completed in Liberia showed the capability of conducting rigorous research during an outbreak. By 1 month after vaccination, the vaccines had elicited immune responses that were largely maintained through 12 months. (Funded by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Liberian Ministry of Health; PREVAIL I number, NCT02344407 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Clinical trial, Microbiology, Vaccine, Vaccination, Immunology, Mononegavirales


Recent work demonstrated that the Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) protein is an essential entry receptor for filoviruses. While previous studies focused on filovirus entry requirements of NPC1 in vitro, its roles in filovirus replication and pathogenesis in vivo remain unclear. Here, we evaluated the importance of NPC1, and its partner in cholesterol transport, NPC2, by using a mouse model of Ebolavirus (EBOV) disease. We found that, whereas wild-type mice had high viral loads and succumbed to EBOV infection, Npc1(-/-) mice were entirely free of viral replication and completely protected from EBOV disease. Interestingly, Npc1(+/-) mice transiently developed high levels of viremia, but were nevertheless substantially protected from EBOV challenge. We also found Npc2(-/-) mice to be fully susceptible to EBOV infection, while Npc1(-/-) mice treated to deplete stored lysosomal cholesterol remained completely resistant to EBOV infection. These results provide mechanistic evidence that NPC1 is directly required for EBOV infection in vivo, with little or no role for NPC1/NPC2-dependent cholesterol transport. Finally, we assessed the in vivo antiviral efficacies of three compounds known to inhibit NPC1 function or NPC1-glycoprotein binding in vitro. Two compounds reduced viral titers in vivo and provided a modest, albeit not statistically significant, degree of protection. Taken together, our results show that NPC1 is critical for replication and pathogenesis in animals and is a bona fide target for development of antifilovirus therapeutics. Additionally, our findings with Npc1(+/-) mice raise the possibility that individuals heterozygous for NPC1 may have a survival advantage in the face of EBOV infection.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Immune system, Gene, Virus, In vivo, In vitro, Marburg virus, Mononegavirales


To determine geographic range for Ebola virus, we tested 276 bats in Bangladesh. Five (3.5%) bats were positive for antibodies against Ebola Zaire and Reston viruses; no virus was detected by PCR. These bats might be a reservoir for Ebola or Ebola-like viruses, and extend the range of filoviruses to mainland Asia.

Concepts: Microbiology, Ebola, Mononegavirales, Viral hemorrhagic fever