Chimeric flaviviruses: novel vaccines against dengue fever, tick-borne encephalitis, and Japanese encephalitis

Adv Virus Res. 2003;61:469-509. doi: 10.1016/s0065-3527(03)61013-4.


Many arthropod-borne flaviviruses are important human pathogens responsible for diverse illnesses, including YF, JE, TBE, and dengue. Live, attenuated vaccines have afforded the most effective and economical means of prevention and control, as illustrated by YF 17D and JE SA14-14-2 vaccines. Recent advances in recombinant DNA technology have made it possible to explore a novel approach for developing live attenuated flavivirus vaccines against other flaviviruses. Full-length cDNA clones allow construction of infectious virus bearing attenuating mutations or deletions incorporated in the viral genome. It is also possible to create chimeric flaviviruses in which the structural protein genes for the target antigens of a flavivirus are replaced by the corresponding genes of another flavivirus. By combining these molecular techniques, the DNA sequences of DEN4 strain 814669, DEN2 PDK-53 candidate vaccine and YF 17D vaccine have been used as the genetic backbone to construct chimeric flaviviruses with the required attenuation phenotype and expression of the target antigens. Encouraging results from preclinical and clinical studies have shown that several chimeric flavivirus vaccines have the safety profile and satisfactory immunogenicity and protective efficacy to warrant further evaluation in humans. The chimeric flavivirus strategy has led to the rapid development of novel live-attenuated vaccines against dengue, TBE, JE, and West Nile viruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Chimera / immunology
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Dengue / immunology
  • Dengue / prevention & control
  • Dengue Virus / genetics
  • Dengue Virus / immunology
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne / genetics
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne / immunology
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / immunology
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / prevention & control
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / immunology
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / prevention & control
  • Flavivirus / genetics*
  • Flavivirus / immunology*
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Humans
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccines / genetics
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccines / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / genetics
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / isolation & purification
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / isolation & purification
  • Viral Vaccines / genetics*
  • Viral Vaccines / isolation & purification*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Viral Vaccines