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Construction of an infectious clone for the chikungunya virus that lacks the furin cleavage site for the production of non-infectious particles

Grant number: 18/11939-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 10, 2019
Effective date (End): July 09, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal researcher:Benedito Antônio Lopes da Fonseca
Grantee:Danillo Lucas Alves Espósito
Supervisor abroad: Beate Kuemmerer
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universität Bonn, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:17/19137-7 - Study of Chikungunya virus immature particles - evaluation of infectivity, diagnostic approach and vaccine candidate, BP.PD


The recent outbreak caused by chikungunya virus (Alphavirus, Togaviridae) worldwide has shown that, despite being first isolated in the 1950s, this infection still has several points to be elucidated. This especially includes the correct diagnosis of the disease caused by the virus, but also treatment and prevention of infection. The virus, which in spite of short-lived viremia, produces symptoms such as high fever, myalgia, rash, and arthritis/arthralgia, which may persist for months or years, causes a major public health impact. The present project proposes the construction of an infectious clone of chikungunya virus with a specific mutation that replaces the furin cleavage site in the structural protein region. The infectious clone will be produced after amplification and assembly of the complete viral genome, and the furin site will be replaced by site-directed mutagenesis. The resulting non-infectious particles will be analysed for viral attenuation by evaluating the infectivity in vitro in Vero and Hela cells to determine their potential use as vaccine candidate.