Effective post-exposure protection against lethal orthopoxviruses infection by vaccinia immune globulin involves induction of adaptive immune response.
ABSTRACT The therapeutic potential of human vaccinia immunoglobulin (VIG) in orthopoxvirus infection was examined using two mouse models for human poxvirus, based on Ectromelia virus and Vaccinia Western Reserve (WR) respiratory infections. Despite the relatively fast clearance of human VIG from mice circulation, a single VIG injection protected immune-competent mice against both infections. Full protection against lethal Ectromelia virus infection was achieved by VIG injection up to one day post-exposure, and even injection of VIG two or three days post-infection conferred solid protection (60-80%). Nevertheless, VIG failed to protect VACV-WR challenged immune-deficient mice, even though repeated injections prolonged SCID mice survival. These results suggest the involvement of host immunity in protection. VIG provides the initial protective time-window allowing induction of the adaptive response required to achieve complete protection. Additionally, VIG can be administered in conjunction with active Vaccinia-Lister vaccination. Vaccine efficiency is not impaired, providing a non-prohibitive VIG dose is used. Thus, VIG can be used as a prophylactic measure against post-vaccinal complications but could also serve for post-exposure treatment against smallpox.
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ABSTRACT: Despite the eradication of smallpox several decades ago, variola and monkeypox viruses still have the potential to become significant threats to public health. The current licensed live vaccinia virus-based smallpox vaccine is extremely effective as a prophylactic vaccine to prevent orthopoxvirus infections, but because of safety issues, it is no longer given as a routine vaccine to the general population. In the event of serious human orthopoxvirus infections, it is important to have treatments available for individual patients as well as their close contacts. The smallpox vaccine and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) were used in the past as therapeutics for patients exposed to smallpox. VIG was also used in patients who were at high risk of developing complications from smallpox vaccination. Thus post-exposure vaccination and VIG treatments may again become important therapeutic modalities. This paper summarizes some of the historic use of the smallpox vaccine and immunoglobulins in the post-exposure setting in humans and reviews in detail the newer animal studies that address the use of therapeutic vaccines and immunoglobulins in orthopoxvirus infections as well as the development of new therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.Viruses. 01/2010;