An orthopoxvirus-based vaccine reduces virus excretion after MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels

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Science  17 Dec 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1283

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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections cause an ongoing outbreak in humans fueled by multiple zoonotic MERS-CoV introductions from dromedary camels. Besides implementing hygiene measures to limit further camel-to-human and human-to-human transmissions, vaccine-mediated reduction of MERS-CoV spread from the animal reservoir may be envisaged. Here, we show that a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) virus vaccine expressing the MERS-CoV spike protein confers mucosal immunity in dromedary camels. Significant reduction of excreted infectious virus and viral RNA transcripts was observed in vaccinated animals upon MERS-CoV challenge as compared to controls. Protection correlated with the presence of serum neutralizing antibodies to MERS-CoV. Induction of MVA-specific antibodies that cross-neutralize camelpox virus, would also provide protection against camelpox.

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