Development of a broadly accessible Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particle vaccine platform

Sudhakar Agnihothram, Vineet D. Menachery, Boyd L. Yount, Lisa C. Lindesmith, Trevor Scobey, Alan Whitmore, Alexandra Schäfer, Mark T. Heise, Ralph S. Baric

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Zoonotic viruses circulate as swarms in animal reservoirs and can emerge into human populations, causing epidemics that adversely affect public health. Portable, safe, and effective vaccine platforms are needed in the context of these outbreak and emergence situations. In this work, we report the generation and characterization of an alphavirus replicon vaccine platform based on a non-select agent, attenuated Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) virus vaccine, strain 3526 (VRP 3526). Using both noroviruses and coronaviruses as model systems, we demonstrate the utility of the VRP 3526 platform in the generation of recombinant proteins, production of virus-like particles, and in vivo efficacy as a vaccine against emergent viruses. Importantly, packaging under biosafety level 2 (BSL2) conditions distinguishes VRP 3526 from previously reported alphavirus platforms and makes this approach accessible to the majority of laboratories around the world. In addition, improved outcomes in the vulnerable aged models as well as against heterologous challenge suggest improved efficacy compared to that of previously attenuated VRP approaches. Taking these results together, the VRP 3526 platform represents a safe and highly portable system that can be rapidly deployed under BSL2 conditions for generation of candidate vaccines against emerging microbial pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00027-18
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Aged
  • Coronavirus
  • Heterologous
  • Norovirus
  • VEE replicon
  • VRP
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a broadly accessible Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particle vaccine platform'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this