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A Full-Length Infectious cDNA Clone of Zika Virus from the 2015 Epidemic in Brazil as a Genetic Platform for Studies of Virus-Host Interactions and Vaccine

This technology relates to the generation and characterization in cell cultures of an infectious cDNA clone of ZIKV isolated from the 2015 epidemic in Brazil. The cDNA-derived ZIKV replicated efficiently in a variety of cell lines, including those of both neuronal and placental origin.

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An arthropod-borne virus, Zika virus (ZIKV), has recently emerged as a major human pathogen. Associated with complications during perinatal development and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, ZIKV raises new challenges for understanding the molecular determinants of flavivirus pathogenesis. This underscores the necessity for the development of a reverse genetic system based on an epidemic ZIKV strain. This technology relates to the generation and characterization in cell cultures of an infectious cDNA clone of ZIKV isolated from the 2015 epidemic in Brazil. The cDNA-derived ZIKV replicated efficiently in a variety of cell lines, including those of both neuronal and placental origin. It was observed that the growth of cDNA-derived virus was attenuated compared to the growth of the parental isolate in most cell lines, which correlates with substantial differences in sequence heterogeneity between these viruses that were determined by deep-sequencing analysis. Moreover, these results indicate that caution should be exercised when interpreting the results of reverse-genetics experiments in attempts to accurately predict the biology of natural viruses. Finally, a Vero cell-adapted cDNA clone of ZIKV was generated that can be used as a convenient platform for studies aimed at the development of ZIKV vaccines (live attenuated and inactivated) and therapeutics.

Potential Commercial Applications:

  • Diagnostics
  • Vaccines
  • Development of therapeutics

Competitive Advantages:

  • Use in development of flavivirus vaccines
  • Virus growth in various cell lines
  • Developing and developed world research tool

Development Stage: Research materials

Inventors:Alexander Pletnev (NIAID), Konstantin Tsetsarkin (NIAID).

Intellectual Property:HHS Reference No. E-114-2017/0

Licensing and Collaborative Research Opportunity:The Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) is seeking parties interested in licensing or collaborative research to further co-develop this technology. For opportunities, please contact Peter Soukas, J.D., 301-594-8730; peter.soukas@nih.gov.

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NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office

NIAID’s technology transfer office, TTIPO, is a one-stop resource for organizations interested in partnering with NIAID to access, develop, and manage the translation of research discoveries into medically beneficial products. TTIPO seeks to expand NIAID’s innovation pipeline with existing and new partners in areas such as newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (e.g., dengue, Zika, Ebola, influenza, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and HIV/AIDS), biodefense (e.g., smallpox and anthrax), and immune-mediated diseases (e.g., asthma and allergy).

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