Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine demonstrated that their lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated modified mRNA Powassan (POWV) vaccine induced potently neutralizing antibodies in mice.

Ixodes scapularis/CDC

The study is published in the journal, Cell Reports today.

Other highlights of the study is one dose of the mRNA vaccine protects against lethal Powassan virus challenge. It also neutralized other tick-borne flaviviruses.

Though POWV infections are relatively rare, they can cause severe or even fatal neuroinvasive disease, including encephalitis, meningoencephalitis, and meningitis. Approximately 10% of neuroinvasive POWV cases are fatal, and 50% of survivors suffer long-term neurological sequelae.

POWV is emerging and increasing numbers of cases have been diagnosed in the United States over the past decade.