COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health, social and economic challenge in Australia and around the world. Support Burnet’s COVID-19 emergency response today.
Two GB virus B (GBV-B) chimeric genomes, GBV-HVR and GBV-HVRh (with a hinge), containing the coding region of the immunodominant hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of the E2 envelope protein of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) were constructed. Immunoblot analysis confirmed that HVR1 was anchored to the GBV-B E2 protein. To investigate the replication competence and in vivo stability of in vitro-generated chimeric RNA transcripts, two naive marmosets were inoculated intrahepatically with the transcripts. The GBV-HVR chimeric genome was detectable for 2 weeks post-inoculation (p.i.), whereas GBV-HVRh reverted to wild type 1 week p.i. Sequencing analysis of the HVR1 and flanking regions from GBV-HVR RNA isolated from marmoset serum demonstrated that the HVR1 insert remained unaltered in the GBV-HVR chimera for 2 weeks. Inoculation of a naive marmoset with serum collected at 1 week p.i. also resulted in viraemia and confirmed that the serum contained infectious particles. All animals cleared the infection by 3 weeks p.i. and remained negative for the remaining weeks. The chimera may prove useful for the in vivo examination of any HCV HVR1-based vaccine candidates.