Japanese Encephalitis Virus

The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) belongs to the genus Flavivirus, of the family Flaviviridae. JEV is also a member of the Japanese encephalitis serology complex, which also includes West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis and Murray Valley encephalitis virus.  In nature, JEV cycles primarily between water birds and mosquitoes, of the Culex species, but pigs can be infected and act as amplifying hosts. JEV can also be transmitted to incidental hosts including humans, horse and other mammals.

In Asia, Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the leading cause of viral encephalitis in children, with up to 70,000 cases reported annually. In most cases JEV infection causes mild symptoms but a small number of cases develop into severe life-threatening encephalitis. The symptoms of JEV infection are like those seen in other conditions that cause severe encephalitis syndrome. In cases presenting with severe encephalitis, mortality rates can be as high as 30%, with survivors developing long term neurological and behavioural complications. Currently, there is no specific antiviral therapy for JEV but safe and effective licenced vaccines are available (1).

Diagnosis of JEV infection is achieved by serological testing for JEV specific IgM antibodies in the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid or serum. However, cross-reactivity of JEV specific antibodies with other Flaviviruses that co-circulate with JEV, such as Dengue virus, can be a challenge and can prevent accurate diagnosis (2).

The Native Antigen Company (NAC) specialises in development and manufacture of native and recombinant viral antigens. JEV antigens developed and supplied by NAC are designed for use by pharmaceutical and IVD manufacturers in vaccine research and serology, where proper folding and glycosylation are vital. As well as offering antigens from a rapidly expanding portfolio, NAC can undertake bespoke product development and custom manufacture using NAC’s proprietary mammalian cell protein expression system.

References

  1. WHO Japanese encephalitis Factsheet
  2. Johnson, B.W. et.al. (2016). Differential Diagnosis of Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infections with the Inbios JE Detect™ and DEN Detect™ MAC-ELISA Kits. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 94: 820–828.

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