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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 May;18(5):783-9. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00560-10. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a recombinant, genetically engineered, live-attenuated vaccine against canine blastomycosis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Blastomycosis is a severe, commonly fatal infection caused by the dimorphic fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis in dogs that live in the United States, Canada, and parts of Africa. The cost of treating an infection can be expensive, and no vaccine against this infection is commercially available. A genetically engineered live-attenuated strain of B. dermatitidis lacking the major virulence factor BAD-1 successfully vaccinates against lethal experimental infection in mice. Here we studied the safety, toxicity, and immunogenicity of this strain as a vaccine in dogs, using 25 beagles at a teaching laboratory and 78 foxhounds in a field trial. In the beagles, escalating doses of live vaccine ranging from 2 × 10⁴ to 2 × 10⁷ yeast cells given subcutaneously were safe and did not disseminate to the lung or induce systemic illness, but a dose of < 2 × 10⁶ yeast cells induced less fever and local inflammation. A vaccine dose of 10⁵ yeast cells was also well tolerated in vaccinated foxhounds who had never had blastomycosis; however, vaccinated dogs with prior infection had more local reactions at the vaccine site. The draining lymph node cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes from vaccinated dogs demonstrated gamma interferon (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) specifically in response to stimulation with Blastomyces antigens. Thus, the live-attenuated vaccine against blastomycosis studied here proved safe, well tolerated, and immunogenic in dogs and merits further studies of vaccine efficacy.

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