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Evaluation of a multivalent vaccine against lymphatic filariasis in rhesus macaque model.
Dakshinamoorthy, Gajalakshmi
von Gegerfelt, Agneta
Andersen, Hanne
Lewis, Mark
Kalyanasundaram, Ramaswamy
PloS one 2014;9: e112982

Lymphatic filariasis affects 120 million people worldwide and another 1.2 billion people are at risk of acquiring the infection. Chemotherapy with mass drug administration is substantially reducing the incidence of the infection. Nevertheless, an effective vaccine is needed to prevent the infection and eradicate the disease. Previously we reported that a multivalent fusion protein vaccine (rBmHAT) composed of small heat shock proteins 12.6 (HSP12.6), abundant larval transcript-2 (ALT-2) and large extracellular domain of tetraspanin (TSP LEL) could confer >95% protection against the challenge infection with Brugia malayi infective larvae (L3) in mouse and gerbil models. In this study we evaluated the immunogenicity and efficacy of rBmHAT fusion protein vaccine in a rhesus macaque model. Our results show that rBmHAT is highly immunogenic in rhesus macaques. All the vaccinated monkeys developed significant titers of antigen-specific IgG antibodies against each of the component antigens (16,000 for rBmHSP12.6), (24,000 for rBmALT-2) and (16,000 for rBmTSP-LEL). An in vitro antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) assay performed using the sera samples from vaccinated monkeys showed that the anti-rBmHAT antibodies are functional with 35% killing of B. malayi L3s. Vaccinated monkeys also had antigen responding cells in the peripheral blood. Vaccine-induced protection was determined after challenging the monkeys with 500 B. malayi L3. Following challenge infection, 3 out of 5 vaccinated macaques failed to develop the infection. These three protected macaques had high titers of IgG1 antibodies and their PBMC secreted significantly high levels of IFN-γ in response to the vaccine antigens. The two vaccinated macaques that picked the infection had slightly low titers of antibodies and their PBMC secreted high levels of IL-10. Based on these findings we conclude that the rBmHAT vaccine is highly immunogenic and safe and can confer significant protection against challenge infections in rhesus macaques.

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