Development of a SFTSV DNA vaccine that confers complete protection against lethal infection in ferrets

Jeong Eun Kwak, Young Il Kim, Su Jin Park, Min Ah Yu, Hyeok Il Kwon, Sukyeong Eo, Tae Shin Kim, Joon Seok, Won Suk Choi, Ju Hwan Jeong, Hyojin Lee, Youngran Cho, Jin Ah Kwon, Moonsup Jeong, Joel N. Maslow, Yong Eun Kim, Haili Jeon, Kee K. Kim, Eui Cheol Shin, Min Suk SongJae U. Jung, Young Ki Choi, Su Hyung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although the incidence of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) infection has increased from its discovery with a mortality rate of 10–20%, no effective vaccines are currently available. Here we describe the development of a SFTSV DNA vaccine, its immunogenicity, and its protective efficacy. Vaccine candidates induce both a neutralizing antibody response and multifunctional SFTSV-specific T cell response in mice and ferrets. When the vaccine efficacy is investigated in aged-ferrets that recapitulate fatal clinical symptoms, vaccinated ferrets are completely protected from lethal SFTSV challenge without developing any clinical signs. A serum transfer study reveals that anti-envelope antibodies play an important role in protective immunity. Our results suggest that Gn/Gc may be the most effective antigens for inducing protective immunity and non-envelope-specific T cell responses also can contribute to protection against SFTSV infection. This study provides important insights into the development of an effective vaccine, as well as corresponding immune parameters, to control SFTSV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3836
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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