Strain of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for vaccine and therapeutic research and development.
- High titer RSV strain.
- Strain A2-line 19F recapitulates human RSV infection in mouse models making it useful for initial vaccine studies.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, with almost all children being at one time or another infected by age 2 or 3. In some cases, RSV infection results in hospitalization and sometimes death of the infant. Since there is no prophylactic vaccine or good therapies, there is a large focus on research and development within the field. One of the difficulties of studying RSV is the unstable single stranded negative sense RNA genome and the expression genes being encoded on separate plasmids. Researchers at Emory have generated a high titer RSV strain A2-line 19F, which will be useful for development of new vaccines and therapeutics.
Currently, there is no prophylactic vaccine for the prevention of RSV. Infants at increased risk of RSV associated complications are given palmivizumab, a monoclonal antibody against RSV that has been shown to reduce hospitalization from RSV infection. Because the effects of palmivizumab are far from ideal, and the majority of young children contact RSV in the first few years of life, there is still a strong need for development of an RSV vaccine. RSV has an unstable negative single stranded RNA virus genome; traditional expression systems for the virus require the expression of several plasmids making RSV extremely difficult to work with in laboratory settings. Researchers at Emory have produced a consistent high titer strain of RSV that closely resembles human cases of RSV, strain A2 line 19F, through an expression system using bacterial artificial chromosome technology (BAC). This strain could prove to be useful in further studies in developing therapeutics and vaccines.
The expression system has been created and validated and the virus produced has been characterized. Both are currently being used in research and development activities.
Publication: Hotard A, et al. (2012). Virology, 434: 129-136.