Establishment of the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) as a novel animal model for comparing smallpox vaccines administered preexposure in both high- and low-dose monkeypox virus challenges
Keckler, M.S.; Carroll, D.S.; Gallardo-Romero, N.F.; Lash, R.R.; Salzer, J.S.; Weiss, S.L.; Patel, N.; Clemmons, C.J.; Smith, S.K.; Hutson, C.L.; Karem, K.L.; Damon, I.K.
Journal of Virology 85(15): 7683-7698
The 2003 monkeypox virus (MPXV) outbreak and subsequent laboratory studies demonstrated that the black-tailed prairie dog is susceptible to MPXV infection and that the ensuing rash illness is similar to human systemic orthopoxvirus (OPXV) infection, including a 7- to 9-day incubation period and, likely, in some cases a respiratory route of infection; these features distinguish this model from others. The need for safe and efficacious vaccines for OPVX in areas where it is endemic or epidemic is important to protect an increasingly OPXV-naïve population. In this study, we tested current and investigational smallpox vaccines for safety, induction of anti-OPXV antibodies, and protection against mortality and morbidity in two MPXV challenges. None of the smallpox vaccines caused illness in this model, and all vaccinated animals showed anti-OPXV antibody responses and neutralizing antibody. We tested vaccine efficacy by challenging the animals with 10(5) or 10(6) PFU Congo Basin MPXV 30 days postvaccination and evaluating morbidity and mortality. Our results demonstrated that vaccination with either Dryvax or Acambis2000 protected the animals from death with no rash illness. Vaccination with IMVAMUNE also protected the animals from death, albeit with (modified) rash illness. Based on the results of this study, we believe prairie dogs offer a novel and potentially useful small animal model for the safety and efficacy testing of smallpox vaccines in pre- and postexposure vaccine testing, which is important for public health planning.