Bioinformatic, Biochemical, and Immunological Mining of MHC Class I Restricted T Cell Epitopes for a Marburg Nucleoprotein Microparticle Vaccine

Harris, Paul Emerson; Burkholz, Scott; Herst, Charles V.; Rubsamen, Reid M.

The Marburg virus (MARV), the virus responsible for Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF), is considered a top-priority pathogen for vaccine development. Recent outbreaks in Equatorial Africa have highlighted the urgency of MARV because of its high fatality rate and historical concerns about potential weaponization. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines for MARV. Existing vaccine candidates rely on attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus carrying MARV glycoprotein (VSV∆G) or the chimpanzee replication-defective adenovirus 3 vector ChAd3-MARV. Although these platforms provide significant protection in animal models, they face challenges because of their limited thermal stability and the need for cold storage during deployment in resource-poor areas. An alternative approach involves using adjuvanted poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles loaded with synthetic peptides representing MHC class I—restricted T cell epitopes. This vaccine platform has demonstrated effectiveness in protecting against SARS-CoV-2 and EBoV disease in animal models and has the advantage of not requiring cold storage and remaining stable at room temperature for over six months. This report outlines the design, manufacturing, and in vivo immunogenicity testing of PLGA microparticle human vaccines designed to prevent Marburg hemorrhagic fever.

Keywords: Marburg; T cell epitope; vaccine; Cynomolgus macaques; Mafa-A63


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May 20, 2024