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Vaccine Advances against Venezuelan, Eastern, and Western Equine Encephalitis Viruses.

Vaccines 2020 June 4
Vaccinations are a crucial intervention in combating infectious diseases. The three neurotropic Alphaviruses, Eastern (EEEV), Venezuelan (VEEV), and Western (WEEV) equine encephalitis viruses, are pathogens of interest for animal health, public health, and biological defense. In both equines and humans, these viruses can cause febrile illness that may progress to encephalitis. Currently, there are no licensed treatments or vaccines available for these viruses in humans. Experimental vaccines have shown variable efficacy and may cause severe adverse effects. Here, we outline recent strategies used to generate vaccines against EEEV, VEEV, and WEEV with an emphasis on virus-vectored and plasmid DNA delivery. Despite candidate vaccines protecting against one of the three viruses, few studies have demonstrated an effective trivalent vaccine. We evaluated the potential of published vaccines to generate cross-reactive protective responses by comparing DNA vaccine sequences to a set of EEEV, VEEV, and WEEV genomes and determining the vaccine coverages of potential epitopes. Finally, we discuss future directions in the development of vaccines to combat EEEV, VEEV, and WEEV.

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