Severe fever with thrombocytopenia virus (SFTSV) is a tick-borne phlebovirus that causes fatal human disease. The authors describe the development of a live-attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine candidate expressing the SFTSV Gn/Gc glycoproteins (rVSV-SFTSV/AH12-GP). They found that the vaccine elicited high titres of cross-protective, broadly neutralising antibodies, in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice, against multiple strains of SFTSV and the related phlebovirus Heartland virus (HRTV). In particular, the vaccine provided complete protection against lethal challenge with SFTSV in young and old immunocompromised mice, regardless of any pre-existing vector-specific immunity. These results suggest that a rVSV vector expressing SFTSV glycoproteins is a promising candidate vaccine against two emerging phleboviruses.
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