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Vaccine. 2003 Sep 8;21(25-26):3912-8.

Protective efficacy of a fully recombinant plague vaccine in the guinea pig.

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  • 1Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, UK.


A fully recombinant sub-unit vaccine comprising the protein antigens rF1 + rV has been demonstrated to protect immunised guinea pigs against exposure to 10(5) colony-forming units (CFU) of virulent Yersinia pestis. Additionally, IgG purified from rF1 + rV-immunised guinea pig serum, protected the mouse by passive immunisation against challenge with Y. pestis whereas IgG purified from the serum of guinea pigs immunised with a licensed killed whole cell (KWC) vaccine for plague, protected less well. Guinea pigs immunised with the licensed killed whole cell vaccine developed an IgG titre for fraction 1 (F1) but not for V antigen. The differential in protection conferred on the mouse by passive immunisation with guinea pig IgG, was abrogated by the use of IgG purified from guinea pigs immunised with killed whole cell vaccine supplemented with V antigen. These findings indicate that the reduced efficacy of the licensed killed whole cell vaccine formulation previously observed in the mouse can be attributed to lack of the V antigen. Cross-protection of the mouse with guinea pig IgG suggests that the recognition of neutralising epitopes in the F1 and V proteins is conserved between these two species.

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