Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Wayne Gray

Relational Format



The West Nile Virus (WNV) is a positive polarity, single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae. In this family, there are several globally relevant human pathogens including dengue fever virus (DENV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), yellow fever virus (YFV), the newly emerging Zika virus, and the West Nile Virus (WNV). WNV, like other Flaviviruses, is spread by an arthropod vector, and can cause West Nile fever and West Nile encephalitis and meningitis, and is now considered to be endemic in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. No vaccine is currently available to prevent WNV infection, and it is clear that one is needed. This thesis aims to provide significant, relevant background information, pathophysiology, epidemiology, and highlight various vaccination strategies that have been attempted or are currently being researched to combat WNV. Furthermore, this paper aims to provide a plausible solution to WNV with two different vaccines that were created: a DNA and recombinant Varicella Zoster Virus (rVZV) vaccine, both expressing the pre-membrane and glycoprotein E antigens of the virus. The DNA vaccine achieved successful transfection and expression in Vero cells.

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Biology Commons



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