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New and Hot research and findings from 2007-2008 

Zinc-Finger Antiviral Protein (ZAP) provides protection against Togaviridae infection.

  • Interferon 1 can activate the translation of the ZAP protein, helps to trigger an antiviral state protective against togaviridae, as well as retroviridae and filoviridae species of viruses.  ZAP works to interfere with the translation of viral RNA and is a crucial part of the interferon pathways in the cell which promotes antiviral activity.  ZAP binds the viral RNA sequence, impeding its replication or translation and indeed recruits exosomes to help destroy viral mRNA.

            MacDonald, Margaret et al.  “The zinc-finger antiviral protein acts synergistically with an interferon-induced factor for maximal activity against alphaviruses.”  J. Virol.  10 October 2007.


Recombinant SFV vector for rubella ineffective in conjunction with measles and mumps vaccines.          

  • In attempts to create a “killed” version of the Rubella strain for the MMR vaccine, scientists investigated the use of Semliki forest virus (SFV) as a recombinant particle vector to establish immunity against rubella envelope proteins E1 and E2.  The initial tests were successful in that high titers of antibody were created to those proteins; however there were unexpected results when combined with the measles and mumps vaccines.  The SFV recombinant was not as effective when used concurrently with the other vaccines.

Callagy, Sara et al.  “Semliki Forest virus vectors expressing the H and HN genes of measles and mumps viruses reduce immunity induced by the envelope protein genes of rubella virus.”  Vaccine.  23 Oct 2007.


MMRV Vaccine second dose is safe and immunogenic.

  • The quardrivalent MMRV vaccine which provides protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox, has been found safe and immunogenic in studies.  The second dose is seen as critical to ensure complete protect in those inoculated.  This form of the vaccine produced 85% protection against varicella, 83% seroconversion to protect against mumps, 98% for measles and 100% for rubella.  This data highlighted the need for second administration to ensure total immunological protection.

            Vesikari, Timo et al.  “Second Dose of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Varicella Vaccine Safe and Immunogenic.”  Pediatr Infect Dis J.  2007; 26:153-148.


Alphavirus vaccine shows potential as an anti-cancer shot.

  • Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is currently under investigation as a way to target and treat prostate cancer.  Alphavirus replicon particles show potential as a vehicle for creating an immune response against PSMA engineered into the vector.  The alphavirus replicon particles were found to create both cellular and humoral immune response against the protein in mice, with potential for boosting the response with additional inoculations.

            Durso, Robert et al.  “A Novel Alphavirus Vaccine Encoding Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen Elicits Potent Cellular and Humoral Immune Responses.”  Clinical Cancer Research.  1st July 2007.


Host Development is key to attenuation of alphavirus infection induced systemic hyperinflammatory disease.

  • Sindbis virus and other alphavirus infections have shown significant differences in severity of infection based on the age of the infected patient.  Fatal infections with SV occur significantly more frequently in young mice (5 days) than older mice (11 days).  Older mice also exhibited lower levels of viral replication, tissue damage, and only mid pathologies.  In contrast, young mice experienced high serum viremia and replication in a variety of tissues, as well as and excess in hyperinflammatory cytokines. 

            Ryman, Kate et al.  “Early restriction of alphavirus replication and dissemination contributes to age-dependent attenuation of systemic hyperinflammatory disease.”  J Gen Virol.  2007.