Background: Human outbreaks of Ebola virus (EBOV) are a serious human health concern in Central Africa. Great apes (gorillas/chimpanzees) are an important source of EBOV transmission to humans due to increased hunting of wildlife including the 'bush-meat' trade. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is an highly immunogenic virus that has shown recent utility as a vaccine platform. CMV-based vaccines also have the unique potential to re-infect and disseminate through target populations regardless of prior CMV immunity, which may be ideal for achieving high vaccine coverage in inaccessible populations such as great apes. Methodology/Principal Findings: We hypothesize that a vaccine strategy using CMV-based vectors expressing EBOV antigens may be ideally suited for use in inaccessible wildlife populations. To establish a 'proof-of-concept' for CMV-based vaccines against EBOV, we constructed a mouse CMV (MCMV) vector expressing a CD8+ T cell epitope from the nucleoprotein (NP) of Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) (MCMV/ZEBOV-NPCTL). MCMV/ZEBOV-NPCTL induced high levels of long-lasting (>8 months) CD8+ T cells against ZEBOV NP in mice. Importantly, all vaccinated animals were protected against lethal ZEBOV challenge. Low levels of anti-ZEBOV antibodies were only sporadically detected in vaccinated animals prior to ZEBOV challenge suggesting a role, at least in part, for T cells in protection. Conclusions/Significance: This study demonstrates the ability of a CMV-based vaccine approach to protect against an highly virulent human pathogen, and supports the potential for 'disseminating' CMV-based EBOV vaccines to prevent EBOV transmission in wildlife populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases