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Type: Journal article
Title: Therapeutic vaccination of koalas harbouring endogenous koala retrovirus (KoRV) improves antibody responses and reduces circulating viral load
Author: Olagoke, O.
Quigley, B.L.
Hemmatzadeh, F.
Tzipori, G.
Timms, P.
Citation: npj Vaccines, 2020; 5(1):60-1-60-8
Publisher: Springer Nature
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 2059-0105
Statement of
Olusola Olagoke, Bonnie L. Quigley, Farhid Hemmatzadeh, Galit Tzipori, and Peter Timms
Abstract: The long-term survival of the koala is under serious threat from multiple factors, including infectious disease agents such as Chlamydia and koala retrovirus (KoRV). KoRV is present in both exogenous and endogenous forms, depending on the geographical location of the population. In the northern half of Australia, it is present as an endogenous infection in all koalas, making a case for an urgent need to develop a therapeutic vaccine that might prevent KoRV-associated pathologies in these koalas. To this end, we determined the therapeutic effects of vaccinating koalas harbouring endogenous KoRV with a recombinant KoRV Env protein combined with a Tri-adjuvant. We found that vaccination led to a significant increase in circulating anti-KoRV IgG levels, as well as increase in neutralising antibodies. Our study also showed that post-vaccination antibodies were able to recognize epitopes on the Env protein that were unrecognised pre-vaccination, as well as resulting in an increase in the recognition of the previously recognised epitopes. The vaccine also induced antibodies that were cross-reactive against multiple KoRV-subtypes. Finally, we found a complete clearance of KoRV-A in plasma from koalas that had detectable levels of KoRV-A pre-vaccination. Similarly, there was a significant reduction in the expression of KoRV-B viral RNA levels post-vaccination. Collectively, this study showed that koalas harbouring endogenous KoRV can benefit from prophylactic vaccination against KoRV using a recombinant KoRV-A Env protein and that the mechanism of this protection might be through the boosting of natural anti-KoRV antibodies and expanding the breadth of the recognised epitopes.
Keywords: Infectious diseases; retrovirus
Rights: © Crown 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
DOI: 10.1038/s41541-020-0210-9
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Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications
Aurora harvest 4

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