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5.3.1.1 What vaccines are available (live attenuated, recombinant)?

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Vaccine baits suitable for red foxes

Presently, only replication competent virus vaccines are commercially available as oral rabies vaccines. These vaccines are inherently associated with certain risks, like all live virus vaccines, although levels of safety vary between the available vaccines.

First generation vaccines are based on conventional methods attenuating rabies viruses by serial passages in vivo and in vitro. These vaccines were followed by development of vaccines produced from ‘selection mutants’. In this case, potential highly attenuated rabies virus vaccine candidates were selected using monoclonal antibodies. The selected candidates showed distinct alterations in their genome.

Finally, as a result of developments in biotechnology, virus genomes could be manipulated directly. These constructs are defined as genetically modified organisms (GMO). A vector virus is developed that expresses the rabies glycoprotein. Different vector viruses can be used for incorporation of the rabies glycoprotein including vaccinia, human adenovirus type 5, canine adenovirus type2 or the rabies virus itself. Through directed mutagenesis (reverse genetics), further alterations can be incorporated to enhance safety and/or immunogenicity.


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Version 1 - Last updated November 2012