Background: The need for an updated plague vaccine is highlighted by outbreaks in endemic regions together with the pandemic potential of this disease. There is no easily available, approved vaccine. Methods: Here we have used a murine model of pneumonic plague to examine the factors that maximise immunogenicity and contribute to survival following vaccination. We varied vaccine type, as either a genetic fusion of the F1 and V protein antigens or a mixture of these two recombinant antigens, as well as antigen dose-level and formulation in order to correlate immune response to survival. Results: Whilst there was interaction between each of the variables of vaccine type, dose level and formulation and these all contributed to survival, vaccine formulation in protein-coated microcrystals (PCMCs) was the key contributor in inducing antibody titres. From these data, we propose a cut-off in total serum antibody titre to the F1 and V proteins of 100 µg/mL and 200 µg/mL, respectively. At these thresholds, survival is predicted in this murine pneumonic model to be >90%. Within the total titre of antibody to the V antigen, the neutralising antibody component correlated with dose level and was enhanced when the V antigen in free form was formulated in PCMCs. Antibody titre to F1 was limited by fusion to V, but this was compensated for by PCMC formulation. Conclusions: These data will enable clinical assessment of this and other candidate plague vaccines that utilise the same vaccine antigens by identifying a target antibody titre from murine models, which will guide the evaluation of clinical titres as serological surrogate markers of efficacy.
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 19 Jan 2022|