The Combined Expression of the Nonstructural Protein NS1 and the N-Terminal Half of NS2 (NS21-180) by ChAdOx1 and MVA Confers Protection against Clinical Disease in Sheep upon Bluetongue Virus Challenge.
Utrilla-Trigo S., Jiménez-Cabello L., Calvo-Pinilla E., Marín-López A., Lorenzo G., Sánchez-Cordón P., Moreno S., Benavides J., Gilbert S., Nogales A., Ortego J.
Bluetongue, caused by bluetongue virus (BTV), is a widespread arthropod-borne disease of ruminants that entails a recurrent threat to the primary sector of developed and developing countries. In this work, we report modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and ChAdOx1-vectored vaccines designed to simultaneously express the immunogenic NS1 protein and/or NS2-Nt, the N-terminal half of protein NS2 (NS21-180). A single dose of MVA or ChAdOx1 expressing NS1-NS2-Nt improved the protection conferred by NS1 alone in IFNAR(-/-) mice. Moreover, mice immunized with ChAdOx1/MVA-NS1, ChAdOx1/MVA-NS2-Nt, or ChAdOx1/MVA-NS1-NS2-Nt developed strong cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell responses against NS1, NS2-Nt, or both proteins and were fully protected against a lethal infection with BTV serotypes 1, 4, and 8. Furthermore, although a single immunization with ChAdOx1-NS1-NS2-Nt partially protected sheep against BTV-4, the administration of a booster dose of MVA-NS1-NS2-Nt promoted a faster viral clearance, reduction of the period and level of viremia and also protected from the pathology produced by BTV infection. IMPORTANCE Current BTV vaccines are effective but they do not allow to distinguish between vaccinated and infected animals (DIVA strategy) and are serotype specific. In this work we have develop a DIVA multiserotype vaccination strategy based on adenoviral (ChAdOx1) and MVA vaccine vectors, the most widely used in current phase I and II clinical trials, and the conserved nonstructural BTV proteins NS1 and NS2. This immunization strategy solves the major drawbacks of the current marketed vaccines.