• Biochemical and immunological evaluation of recombinant CS6-derived subunit enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli vaccine candidates

      Poole, S.T.; Maciel, Jr., M.; Dinadayala, Premkumar (American Society for Microbiology, 2019)
      CS6, a prevalent surface antigen expressed in nearly 20% of clinical enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) isolates, is comprised of two major subunit proteins, CssA and CssB. Using donor strand complementation, we constructed a panel of recombinant proteins of 1 to 3 subunits that contained combinations of CssA and/or CssB subunits and a donor strand, a C-terminal extension of 16 amino acids that was derived from the N terminus of either CssA or CssB. While the entire panel of recombinant proteins could be obtained as soluble, folded proteins, it was observed that the proteins possessing a heterologous donor strand, derived from the CS6 subunit different from the C-terminal subunit, had the highest degree of physical and thermal stability. Immunological characterization of the proteins, using a murine model, demonstrated that robust anti-CS6 immune responses were generated from fusions containing both CssA and CssB. Proteins containing only CssA were weakly immunogenic. Heterodimers, i.e., CssBA and CssAB, were sufficient to recapitulate the anti-CS6 immune response elicited by immunization with CS6, including the generation of functional neutralizing antibodies, as no further enhancement of the response was obtained with the addition of a third CS6 subunit. Our findings here demonstrate the feasibility of including a recombinant CS6 subunit protein in a subunit vaccine strategy against ETEC. Copyright 2019 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    • Introduction of new vaccines for immunization in pregnancy – Programmatic, regulatory, safety and ethical considerations

      Kochhar, Sonali; Edwards, Kathryn M.; Ortiz, Justin R. (Elsevier Ltd., 2019-05-31)
      Immunizing pregnant women is a promising strategy to reduce infectious disease-related morbidity and mortality in pregnant women and their infants. Important pre-requisites for the successful introduction of new vaccines for immunization in pregnancy include political commitment and adequate financial resources: trained, committed and sufficient numbers of healthcare workers to deliver the vaccines; close integration of immunization programs with antenatal care and Maternal and Child Health services; adequate access to antenatal care by pregnant women in the country (especially in low and middle-income countries (LMIC)); and a high proportion of births occurring in health facilities (to ensure maternal and neonatal follow-up can be done). The framework needed to advance a vaccine program from product licensure to successful country-level implementation includes establishing and organizing evidence for anticipated vaccine program impact, developing supportive policies, and translating policies into local action. International and national coordination efforts, proactive planning from conception to implementation of the programs (including country-level policy making, planning, and implementation, regulatory guidance, pharmacovigilance)and country-specific and cultural factors must be taken into account during the vaccines introduction. © 2019 The Authors
    • Mucosal vaccine efficacy against intrarectal SHIV is independent of anti-Env antibody response

      Sui, Y.; Lewis, G.K.; Wang, Y. (American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2019)
      It is widely believed that protection against acquisition of HIV or SIV infection requires anti-envelope (anti-Env) antibodies, and that cellular immunity may affect viral loads but not acquisition, except in special cases. Here we provide evidence to the contrary. Mucosal immunization may enhance HIV vaccine efficacy by eliciting protective responses at portals of exposure. Accordingly, we vaccinated macaques mucosally with HIV/SIV peptides, modified vaccinia Ankara-SIV (MVA-SIV), and HIV-gp120-CD4 fusion protein plus adjuvants, which consistently reduced infection risk against heterologous intrarectal SHIVSF162P4 challenge, both high dose and repeated low dose. Surprisingly, vaccinated animals exhibited no anti-gp120 humoral responses above background and Gag- and Env-specific T cells were induced but failed to correlate with viral acquisition. Instead, vaccine-induced gut microbiome alteration and myeloid cell accumulation in colorectal mucosa correlated with protection. Ex vivo stimulation of the myeloid cell-enriched population with SHIV led to enhanced production of trained immunity markers TNF-? and IL-6, as well as viral coreceptor agonist MIP1?, which correlated with reduced viral Gag expression and in vivo viral acquisition. Overall, our results suggest mechanisms involving trained innate mucosal immunity together with antigen-specific T cells, and also indicate that vaccines can have critical effects on the gut microbiome, which in turn can affect resistance to infection. Strategies to elicit similar responses may be considered for vaccine designs to achieve optimal protective efficacy.
    • A new human challenge model for testing heat-stable toxin-based vaccine candidates for enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli diarrhea - dose optimization, clinical outcomes, and CD4 + T cell responses

      Sakkestad, S.T.; Steinsland, H.; Barry, E. (Public Library of Science, 2019)
      Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are a common cause of diarrheal illness in young children and travelers. There is yet no licensed broadly protective vaccine against ETEC. One promising vaccine development strategy is to target strains expressing the heat-stable toxin (ST), particularly the human ST (STh), since infections with these strains are among the leading causes of diarrhea in children in low-and-middle income countries. A human challenge model based on an STh-only ETEC strain will be useful to evaluate the protective efficacy of new ST-based vaccine candidates. To develop this model, we experimentally infected 21 healthy adult volunteers with the epidemiologically relevant STh-only ETEC strain TW10722, identified a suitable dose, assessed safety, and characterized clinical outcomes and immune responses caused by the infection. Doses of 1×10(10) colony-forming units (CFU) of TW10722 gave a suitable attack risk of 67% for moderate or severe diarrhea and an overall diarrhea attack risk of 78%. Non-diarrheal symptoms were mostly mild or moderate, and there were no serious adverse events. During the first month after ingesting the challenge strain, we measured significant increases in both activated CD4+ T cells and levels of serum IgG and IgA antibodies targeting coli surface antigen 5 (CS5) and 6 (CS6), as well as the E. coli mucinase YghJ. The CS5-specific CD4+ T cell and antibody responses were still significantly elevated one year after experimental infection. In conclusion, we have developed a safe STh-only ETEC-based human challenge model which can be efficiently used in Phase 2B trials to evaluate the protective efficacy of new ST-based vaccine candidates. Copyright 2019 Sakkestad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
    • ReVac: a reverse vaccinology computational pipeline for prioritization of prokaryotic protein vaccine candidates

      D'Mello, A.; Ahearn, C.P.; Tettelin, H. (BioMed Central Ltd., 2019)
      BACKGROUND: Reverse vaccinology accelerates the discovery of potential vaccine candidates (PVCs) prior to experimental validation. Current programs typically use one bacterial proteome to identify PVCs through a filtering architecture using feature prediction programs or a machine learning approach. Filtering approaches may eliminate potential antigens based on limitations in the accuracy of prediction tools used. Machine learning approaches are heavily dependent on the selection of training datasets with experimentally validated antigens (positive control) and non-protective-antigens (negative control). The use of one or few bacterial proteomes does not assess PVC conservation among strains, an important feature of vaccine antigens. RESULTS: We present ReVac, which implements both a panoply of feature prediction programs without filtering out proteins, and scoring of candidates based on predictions made on curated positive and negative control PVCs datasets. ReVac surveys several genomes assessing protein conservation, as well as DNA and protein repeats, which may result in variable expression of PVCs. ReVac's orthologous clustering of conserved genes, identifies core and dispensable genome components. This is useful for determining the degree of conservation of PVCs among the population of isolates for a given pathogen. Potential vaccine candidates are then prioritized based on conservation and overall feature-based scoring. We present the application of ReVac, applied to 69 Moraxella catarrhalis and 270 non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae genomes, prioritizing 64 and 29 proteins as PVCs, respectively. CONCLUSION: ReVac's use of a scoring scheme ranks PVCs for subsequent experimental testing. It employs a redundancy-based approach in its predictions of features using several prediction tools. The protein's features are collated, and each protein is ranked based on the scoring scheme. Multi-genome analyses performed in ReVac allow for a comprehensive overview of PVCs from a pan-genome perspective, as an essential pre-requisite for any bacterial subunit vaccine design. ReVac prioritized PVCs of two human respiratory pathogens, identifying both novel and previously validated PVCs.
    • A roadmap for enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli vaccine development based on volunteer challenge studies

      Levine, Myron M.; Barry, Eileen M.; Chen, Wilbur H. (Taylor and Francis Inc., 2019-03-20)
      Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a major cause of travelers’ diarrhea and of diarrhea among young children in developing countries. Experimental challenge studies in adult volunteers have played a pivotal role in establishing ETEC as an enteric pathogen, elucidating its pathogenesis by identifying specific virulence attributes, characterizing the human immune response to clinical and sub-clinical ETEC infection and assessing preliminarily the clinical acceptability, immunogenicity and efficacy of prototype ETEC vaccines. This review provides a historical perspective of experimental challenge studies with ETEC. It summarizes pioneering early studies carried out by investigators at the University of Maryland School of Medicine to show how those studies provided key information that influenced the directions taken by many research groups to develop vaccines to prevent ETEC. In addition, key experimental challenge studies undertaken at other institutions will also be cited. © 2019 The Author(s).
    • T-cell response to viral hemorrhagic fevers

      Perdomo-Celis, F.; Salvato, M.S.; Medina-Moreno, S. (MDPI AG, 2019)
      Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) are a group of clinically similar diseases that can be caused by enveloped RNA viruses primarily from the families Arenaviridae, Filoviridae, Hantaviridae, and Flaviviridae. Clinically, this group of diseases has in common fever, fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, and other associated symptoms that can progress to vascular leakage, bleeding and multiorgan failure. Most of these viruses are zoonotic causing asymptomatic infections in the primary host, but in human beings, the infection can be lethal. Clinical and experimental evidence suggest that the T-cell response is needed for protection against VHF, but can also cause damage to the host, and play an important role in disease pathogenesis. Here, we present a review of the T-cell immune responses to VHF and insights into the possible ways to improve counter-measures for these viral agents. Copyright 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
    • Vaccines Against Shigella and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli: A summary of the 2018 VASE Conference

      Barry, Eileen; Cassels, Fred; Riddle, Mark (Elsevier Ltd., 2019-08-07)
      PATH hosted the second Vaccines Against Shigella and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VASE) Conference in Mexico City in June 2018, again providing experts from around the world an opportunity to participate in a highly collaborative forum to discuss progress in the development of new enteric vaccines. Through a combination of plenary sessions and posters, keynote presentations, and workshops, the 2018 VASE Conference aimed to accelerate communication and progress among those working to achieve the goal of licensed vaccines against these two bacterial pathogens. Many presentations recognized the importance of diarrheal disease and long-term sequelae caused by infections with Shigella and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). Other presentations explored new strategies for vaccine development, including the search for novel, possibly conserved, antigens for more effective vaccines. Much progress is being made as some vaccine candidates are now moving through clinical trials. Research presented in oral and poster presentations at the VASE Conference covered a range of topics, including: the global burden of disease, epidemiology, and health economics; host parameters and genomics that predict responses to infection and disease; preclinical evaluations of vaccine antigens and models of enteric diseases; and vaccine candidates in clinical trials and human challenge studies. This article reviews key points and highlighted research presented in each of the plenary conference sessions and poster presentations at the 2018 VASE Conference. © 2019 The Authors