Genetically Thermo-Stabilised, Immunogenic Poliovirus Empty Capsids; a Strategy for Non-replicating Vaccines.
PLoS Pathog. 2017 01 ;13(1):e1006117. Epub 2017 Jan 19. PMID: 28103317
While wild type polio has been nearly eradicated there will be a need to continue immunisation programmes for some time because of the possibility of re-emergence and the existence of long term excreters of poliovirus. All vaccines in current use depend on growth of virus and most of the non-replicating (inactivated) vaccines involve wild type viruses known to cause poliomyelitis. The attenuated vaccine strains involved in the eradication programme have been used to develop new inactivated vaccines as production is thought safer. However it is known that the Sabin vaccine strains are genetically unstable and can revert to a virulent transmissible form. A possible solution to the need for virus growth would be to generate empty viral capsids by recombinant technology, but hitherto such particles are so unstable as to be unusable. We report here the genetic manipulation of the virus to generate stable empty capsids for all three serotypes. The particles are shown to be extremely stable and to generate high levels of protective antibodies in animal models.