The four DENV serotypes are mosquito-borne pathogens that belong to the Flavivirus genus. These viruses present a major global health burden, being endemic in over 120 countries, causing ∼390 million reported infections yearly, with clinical symptoms ranging from mild fever to severe and potentially fatal hemorrhagic syndromes. Development of a safe and efficacious DENV vaccine is challenging because of the need to induce immunity against all four serotypes simultaneously, as immunity against one serotype can potentially enhance disease caused by a heterotypic secondary infection. So far, live-virus particle-based vaccine approaches struggle with inducing protective tetravalent immunity, while recombinant subunit approaches that use the envelope protein (E) as the major antigen, are gaining promise in preclinical studies. However, E-based subunits require further development and characterization to be used as effective vaccine antigens against DENV. In this review, we will address the shortcomings of recombinant E-based antigens and will discuss potential solutions to enhance E-based subunit antigen immunogenicity and vaccine efficacy.
Keywords: dengue virus; dimer; envelope protein; quaternary epitopes; subunit vaccine; virology.
© FEMS 2019.