Infection with non-lethal West Nile virus Eg101 strain induces immunity that protects mice against the lethal West Nile virus NY99 strain

Viruses. 2014 Jun 6;6(6):2328-39. doi: 10.3390/v6062328.


Herein we demonstrate that infection of mice with West Nile virus (WNV) Eg101 provides protective immunity against lethal challenge with WNV NY99. Our data demonstrated that WNV Eg101 is largely non-virulent in adult mice when compared to WNV NY99. By day 6 after infection, WNV-specific IgM and IgG antibodies, and neutralizing antibodies were detected in the serum of all WNV Eg101 infected mice. Plaque reduction neutralization test data demonstrated that serum from WNV Eg101 infected mice neutralized WNV Eg101 and WNV NY99 strains with similar efficiency. Three weeks after infection, WNV Eg101 immunized mice were challenged subcutaneously or intracranially with lethal dose of WNV NY99 and observed for additional three weeks. All the challenged mice were protected against disease and no morbidity and mortality was observed in any mice. In conclusion, our data for the first time demonstrate that infection of mice with WNV Eg101 induced high titers of WNV specific IgM and IgG antibodies, and cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies, and the resulting immunity protected all immunized animals from both subcutaneous and intracranial challenge with WNV NY99. These observations suggest that WNV Eg101 may be a suitable strain for the development of a vaccine in humans against virulent strains of WNV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity / immunology
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunization
  • Mice
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Viral Load
  • Virulence
  • West Nile Fever / immunology
  • West Nile Fever / mortality
  • West Nile Fever / prevention & control*
  • West Nile Fever / virology
  • West Nile virus / classification
  • West Nile virus / immunology*
  • West Nile virus / pathogenicity


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral