Expression of Hepatitis B Virus Surface Antigens Containing Pre-s Regions by Recombinant Vaccinia Viruses
Hepatitis B is a major problem throughout the world. Approximately 200 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and numerous deaths result from fulminant hepatitis, cirrhosis, and primary hepatocellular carcinoma. The 42-nm blood-borne infectious particle is composed of a nucleocapsid and a lipoprotein envelope. During acute infections as well as in chronic carrier states, excess envelope protein, hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), is secreted into the blood as 22-nm empty particles. The latter have been purified and used as a subunit vaccine. Despite the efficacy and safety of the plasma-derived product, the high cost associated with purification and testing and the limited quantities available have prevented extensive use of the vaccine in areas of the world where hepatitis B is highly endemic. For these reasons, alternative methods of producing HBsAg are being developed. Genetic engineering has been used to produce HBsAg in yeast and mammalian cells (reviewed by Tiollais et al., 1985), offering the possibility of a more widely available recombinant vaccine. Nevertheless, the requirement for extensive protein purification, refrigerated storage of the vaccine, and a schedule of repeated inoculations may still impose limits on the global use of HBV vaccine for the immediate future.
KeywordsHepatitis Agar Codon Recombination Sedimentation
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