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Infection of rabbits with aerosolized rabbitpox virus (RPXV) produces a disease similar to monkeypox and smallpox in humans and provides a valuable, informative model system to test medical countermeasures against orthopoxviruses. Due to the eradication of smallpox, the evaluation of the efficacy of new-generation smallpox vaccines depends on relevant well-developed animal studies for vaccine licensure. In this study, we tested the efficacy of IMVAMUNE [modified vaccinia Ankara-Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN)] for protecting rabbits against aerosolized RPXV. Rabbits were vaccinated with either phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), Dryvax, a single low dose of IMVAMUNE, a single high dose of IMVAMUNE, or twice with a high dose of IMVAMUNE. Aerosol challenge with a lethal dose of RPXV was performed 4 weeks after the last vaccination. All PBS control animals succumbed to the disease or were euthanized because of the disease within 7 days postexposure. The rabbits vaccinated with Dryvax, a low dose of IMVAMUNE, or a single high dose of IMVAMUNE showed minimal to moderate clinical signs of the disease, but all survived the challenge. The only clinical sign displayed by rabbits that had been vaccinated twice with a high dose of IMVAMUNE was mild transient anorexia in just two out of eight rabbits. This study shows that IMVAMUNE can be a very effective vaccine against aerosolized RPXV.


Nicole L Garza, Josh M Hatkin, Virginia Livingston, Donald K Nichols, Paul J Chaplin, Ariane Volkmann, Diana Fisher, Aysegul Nalca. Evaluation of the efficacy of modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA)/IMVAMUNE against aerosolized rabbitpox virus in a rabbit model. Vaccine. 2009 Sep 4;27(40):5496-504

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PMID: 19632316

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