: The primary route of Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission is through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, when it probes the skin of a vertebrate host during a blood meal. Viral particles are injected into the bite site together with mosquito saliva and a complex mixture of other components. Some of them are known to play a key role in the augmentation of the arbovirus infection in the host, with increased viremia and/or morbidity. This vector-derived contribution to the infection is not usually considered when vaccine candidates are tested in preclinical animal models. In this study, we performed a preclinical validation of a promising ZIKV vaccine candidate in a mosquito-mouse transmission model using both Asian and African ZIKV lineages. Mice were immunized with engineered ZIKV virus-like particles and subsequently infected through the bite of ZIKV-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Despite a mild increase in viremia in mosquito-infected mice compared to those infected through traditional needle injection, the vaccine protected the animals from developing the disease and strongly reduced viremia. In addition, during peak viremia, naive mosquitoes were allowed to feed on infected vaccinated and nonvaccinated mice. Our analysis of viral titers in mosquitos showed that the vaccine was able to inhibit virus transmission from the host to the vector. IMPORTANCE Zika is a mosquito-borne viral disease, causing acute debilitating symptoms and complications in infected individuals and irreversible neuronal abnormalities in newborn children. The primary vectors of ZIKV are Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Despite representing a significant public health burden with a widespread transmission in many regions of the world, Zika remains a neglected disease with no effective antiviral therapies or approved vaccines. It is known that components of the mosquito bite lead to an enhancement of viral infection and spread, but this aspect is often overlooked when vaccine candidates undergo preclinical validation. In this study, we included mosquitoes as viral vectors, demonstrating the ability of a promising vaccine candidate to protect animals against ZIKV infections after the bite of an infected mosquito and to also prevent its further transmission. These findings represent an additional crucial step for the development of an effective prevention tool for clinical use.

Evaluation of an Engineered Zika Virus-Like Particle Vaccine Candidate in a Mosquito-Mouse Transmission Model

Mancini, Maria Vittoria;
2023-01-01

Abstract

: The primary route of Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission is through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, when it probes the skin of a vertebrate host during a blood meal. Viral particles are injected into the bite site together with mosquito saliva and a complex mixture of other components. Some of them are known to play a key role in the augmentation of the arbovirus infection in the host, with increased viremia and/or morbidity. This vector-derived contribution to the infection is not usually considered when vaccine candidates are tested in preclinical animal models. In this study, we performed a preclinical validation of a promising ZIKV vaccine candidate in a mosquito-mouse transmission model using both Asian and African ZIKV lineages. Mice were immunized with engineered ZIKV virus-like particles and subsequently infected through the bite of ZIKV-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Despite a mild increase in viremia in mosquito-infected mice compared to those infected through traditional needle injection, the vaccine protected the animals from developing the disease and strongly reduced viremia. In addition, during peak viremia, naive mosquitoes were allowed to feed on infected vaccinated and nonvaccinated mice. Our analysis of viral titers in mosquitos showed that the vaccine was able to inhibit virus transmission from the host to the vector. IMPORTANCE Zika is a mosquito-borne viral disease, causing acute debilitating symptoms and complications in infected individuals and irreversible neuronal abnormalities in newborn children. The primary vectors of ZIKV are Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Despite representing a significant public health burden with a widespread transmission in many regions of the world, Zika remains a neglected disease with no effective antiviral therapies or approved vaccines. It is known that components of the mosquito bite lead to an enhancement of viral infection and spread, but this aspect is often overlooked when vaccine candidates undergo preclinical validation. In this study, we included mosquitoes as viral vectors, demonstrating the ability of a promising vaccine candidate to protect animals against ZIKV infections after the bite of an infected mosquito and to also prevent its further transmission. These findings represent an additional crucial step for the development of an effective prevention tool for clinical use.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1494540
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