Author(s): FisherHoch SP, McCormick JB
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Abstract Arenaviruses, such as Lassa fever, establish chronic infections in rodents, leading to incidental transmission to humans. Lassa fever is a clinically severe disease, yet the absence of second attacks implies life-long immunity. The aim of this review is to consider whether such immunity could be provided by vaccines. The South American arenaviruses are controlled by neutralising antibody and a clinical trial of live, attenuated vaccine for Argentinian haemorrhagic fever provided 84\% protection. In contrast, there is no evidence for protective humoral immunity against Old World arenaviruses which are controlled by cell-mediated immune responses. Nevertheless, vaccination with Lassa glycoproteins can protect monkeys from disease, implying that protection may be achievable, even though the immunological mechanisms are distinct. Recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing various forms of Lassa glycoproteins can protect both guinea-pigs and primates, while additional protective responses can be mounted against nucleocapsid genes. However, vaccines based upon vaccinia constructs are no longer tenable for African populations with a high seroprevalence of HIV infection. The scientific challenge now remains to find alternative methods of delivering T-cell immunity against glycoproteins from Lassa virus in ways which can overcome the local economic and political hurdles to vaccine development. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in Rev Med Virol
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination