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Zaheer Hussain, Muhammad Saleem Haider, Zafar Ul Ehsan Qureshi, Andres Velasco-Villa, Shahida Afzaal and Xianfu Wu
Purpose: Pakistan is one of the few countries where Rabies is endemic and a great threat to humans as well as live stocks. A large number of individuals died of rabies exposure due to either the limited access to rabies vaccines or the side-effects of sheep brain -originated Sample vaccine. Cell culture-derived rabies vaccines are mostly unaffordable to the needed population under rabies threat. Development of a safer and more affordable vaccine is necessary in Pakistan. Here, we developed two novel recombinant rabies virus vaccines using a local Pakistan rabies virus glycoprotein gene, and tested the efficacy of vaccines in mice.
Methods: The glycoprotein gene (RVG) of vector ERAg3p and ERAg3m was substituted, respectively, with a modified Pakistani RVG. The resulting recombinant vectors were applied for reverse genetics to recover two vaccine viruses, PK-SG and PK-DG. The efficacy of PK-SG and PK-DG were tested in mice by intramuscular injection and oral delivery.
Results: All mice survived the challenge after intramuscular vaccination using PK-SG, or PK-DG. In the oral
vaccination groups, 80% mice with PK-SG and 90% mice with PK-DG survived the challenge. Meanwhile, 80% of the unvaccinated control mice succumbed after challenge. The mean rabies virus neutralizing antibody titers was ≥0.5 IU/ml in all vaccinated groups.
Conclusion: Our results demonstrated the efficacy of PK-SG and PK-DG in rabies vaccination in mice. The two recombinant virus strains may be good vaccine candidates for the target animals and humans in Pakistan. Detailed investigations are necessary in the future.