Measles Vaccination: New Strategies and Formulations

Rory D de Vries; Koert J Stittelaar; Albert DME Osterhaus; Rik L de Swart


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008;7(8):1215-1223. 

In This Article

MV as a Vector

Measles may be targeted for eradication by the WHO when eradication of polio is completed successfully. However, MV-specific immune responses not only provide protection against measles but also against infections with other morbilliviruses such as canine distemper virus and rinderpest virus.[86,87] Therefore, discontinuation of measles vaccination could open the door for reintroduction of an animal morbillivirus into the human niche.[88] Furthermore, in populations with large numbers of susceptibles, MV could possibly be used in a bioterrorist attack. Therefore, it will be important to keep measles vaccination coverage high, even after global eradication of measles. Under these conditions, vaccination compliance could be facilitated by using MV as a viral vector for expression of foreign antigens. MV is a potential vector since the virus is highly stable, does not normally persist in individuals and generation of recombinant MV (rMV) is feasible.[89–91]

Several studies in the mouse model have shown that rMV is capable of inducing humoral immunity against both MV and co-expressed proteins derived from other pathogens, such as SIV,[91] HIV,[92,93] hepatitis B,[89,94] dengue virus,[95] SARS coronavirus[96] and West Nile virus.[97] One study reported that rMV could protect macaques from measles after challenge with a wild type MV, indicating that the rMV still induces MV-specific immunity in nonhuman primates.[94]

A major drawback when using rMV as a viral vector is pre-existing immunity against the virus in the population. Most experiments described with rMV were performed in mice without pre-existing immunity. Although LAV, DNA and recombinant protein vaccines have also been used as booster vaccinations, pre-existing MV-specific immunity may be a problem when induction of protective immunity against other pathogens is required.


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