Safety studies with the oral rabies virus vaccine strain SPBN GASGAS in the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus)
Oral vaccination of the small Indian mongoose against rabies has been suggested as a potential tool to eliminate mongoose-mediated rabies on several Caribbean islands. A recently developed oral rabies virus vaccine strain, SPBN GASGAS, has already been shown to be efficacious in this reservoir species. Since, all available oral rabies vaccines are based on replication-competent viruses and vaccine baits are distributed unsupervised in the environment, enhanced safety standards for such vaccine types are required.The results of safety studies, including overdose, repeated doses, dissemination and different routes of administration, in the target species are presented. It was shown that the construct was apathogenic, irrespective of dose and route of administration. Even when it was inoculated directly in the brain, it did not induce rabies infection. Furthermore, the vaccine strain did not spread within the target species after direct oral instillation beyond the site of entry.The vaccine strain SPBN GASGAS meets the safety requirements for live rabies virus vaccines in this target species, the small Indian mongoose.