Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus endemic in Africa and Asia that causes a debilitating disease in over 2 million people every year in explosive outbreaks. Currently there are no vaccines or therapeutics available for this emerging virus. IBT Bioservices has established a lethal model for this disease based on previous publication (Partidos, 2011).
This model utilizes AG129 mice deficient in IFN α/β and IFN γ signaling and an attenuated strain of CHIKV (181/25). It is an ideal model for testing drug and vaccine candidates and has the following advantages:
- Lethal challenge dose established allowing efficacy testing using morbidity and mortality endpoints.
- Virus causes necrotic histopathological changes in the spleens of infected mice.
- Utilizes an attenuated strain (CHIKV 181/25) that is safe to handle in BSL-2 environment thereby avoiding high costs of BSL-3 studies.
- Successfully used to demonstrate efficacy of CHIKV experimental vaccine candidates.
- Adoptive transfer of hyperimmune serum protects against lethal challenge suggesting the utility of the model to evaluate therapeutic candidates.