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Vaccine. 1992;10(14):1027-32.

Progress towards the development of new vaccines against whooping cough.

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Immunobiology Research Institute, Siena, Italy.


Acellular vaccines against whooping cough are in the final stage of clinical testing and are likely to become available for mass immunization in the near future. Over a dozen vaccines of similar composition have been developed by vaccine companies and research laboratories; all of them contain a detoxified form of pertussis toxin (PT) that may be present alone or combined with one or more other non-toxic proteins, such as filamentous haemagglutinin (FHA), pertactin (69 kDa), and the agglutinogens (AGG). Most of the vaccines contain a PT that has been inactivated by chemical treatment, a process that reduces the immunogenicity of the molecule and may not completely eliminate the risk of reversion to toxicity. To avoid these problems, we have constructed by genetic manipulation a mutant of Bordetella pertussis that produces a non-toxic form of PT. This molecule (PT-9K/129G) contains two amino acid substitutions in the S1 subunit (Arg9-->Lys and Glu129-->Gly) which abolish the enzymatic activity of the S1 subunit and all the toxic properties of PT, without changing the immunological properties of the wild-type toxin. Following extensive preclinical studies, which have shown that PT-9K/129G is safe and more antigenic than the toxin treated with chemical agents, this molecule was tested for safety and immunogenicity in adult volunteers, 18-month-old children and 2-month-old infants. The molecule has been tested alone, combined with FHA and pertactin and also combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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