Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Fengwei Bai, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus that is causing significant world-wide health concern. There are currently no treatments or vaccines available for this virus, thus, there is an urgent need to develop a safe and effective vaccine to combat ZIKV infection. Nhumirim virus (NHUV) is also a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus, but it is unable to infect humans and other vertebrate animals, making it an ideal candidate to develop chimeric viral vaccines against other disease-causing flaviviruses, such as ZIKV. In this study, we generated chimeric viruses by replacing envelope (E) gene in the genome of NHUV with ZIKV E gene, which encodes the major viral surface glycoproteins that mediate cellular receptor binding and induce host protective immune responses. The recombinant NHUV genomes were transfected into mosquito C6/36 cells in the forms of plasmids. The transfected cell supernatants were then collected and used to inoculate a new batch of C6/36 cells on day 4 post-transfection. The cell supernatants were continuously passed for five passages on C6/36 cells. Although a cytopathic effect (CPE) was not observed on the days of collection, the presence of the chimeric viral genomes of the chimeric viruses was confirmed by using RT-qPCR measuring ZIKV E and nonstructural gene 1 (NS1) of NHUV. The results of this study indicate the successful generation of chimeric ZNHUV viruses that can be further evaluated in cell culture and in a mouse model as a potentially safe and effective vaccine candidate against ZIKV infection.