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J Med Virol 2007 Apr 24;79(6):791-802

Microarray assay for evaluation of the genetic stability of modified vaccinia virus Ankara B5R gene.

Laassri M, Meseda CA, Williams O, Merchlinsky M, Weir JP, Chumakov K

Laassri M (reprint author), US FDA, CBER, 1401 Rockville Pike,HFM-470, Rockville, MD 20852 USA US FDA, CBER, Rockville, MD 20852 USA


Adverse events associated with the use of live smallpox vaccines have led to the development of a new generation of attenuated smallpox vaccines that are prepared in cultured cells as alternatives. The inability to conduct direct clinical evaluation of their efficacy in humans demands that licensure be based on animal studies and exhaustive evaluation of their in vitro properties. One of the most important characteristics of live viral vaccines is their genetic stability, including reversion of the vaccine strain to more virulent forms, recombination with other viral sequences to produce potentially pathogenic viruses, and genetic drift that can result in decrease of immunogenicity and efficacy. To study genetic stability of an immunoessential vaccinia virus gene in a new generation smallpox vaccine, an advanced oligonucleotide microchip was developed and used to assay for mutations that could emerge in B5R gene, a vaccinia virus gene encoding for a protein that contains very important neutralizing epitopes. This microarray contained overlapping oligonucleotides covering the B5R gene of modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a well-studied candidate smallpox vaccine. The microarray assay was shown to be able to detect even a single point mutation, and to differentiate between vaccinia strains. At the same time, it could detect newly emerged mutations in clones of vaccinia strains. In the work described here, it was shown that MVA B5R gene was stable after 34 passages in Vero and MRC-5 cells that were proposed for use as cell substrates for vaccine manufacture. Potentially, the proposed method could be used as an identity test and could be extended for the entire viral genome and used to monitor consistency of vaccine production.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #17457926
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-04 Entry Last Modified: 2016-03-21