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Vaccine. 1989 Dec;7(6):533-40.

Immunization of cotton rats with the fusion (F) and large (G) glycoproteins of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) protects against RSV challenge without potentiating RSV disease.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892.


A formalin-inactivated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine tested 22 years ago failed to protect infant vaccinees against RSV infection or disease. Instead, lower respiratory tract disease was enhanced during subsequent infection by RSV. Enhancement of pulmonary pathology is also observed when cotton rats are immunized with formalin-inactivated RSV and subsequently infected with this virus. A major question that must be addressed for each new paramyxovirus vaccine is whether the immunogen possesses the capacity to potentiate disease. In the present study, we evaluated a newly developed purified F and G glycoprotein vaccine over a wide dosage range for immunogenicity, efficacy and capacity to potentiate pulmonary pathology in cotton rats. In addition, a formalin-inactivated RSV vaccine, which served as a positive control for enhancement of pulmonary pathology, was evaluated simultaneously. The results of these comparisons indicate that the purified F and G glycoprotein vaccine was highly immunogenic and was efficacious even in animals that developed low levels of serum-neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, the F and G vaccine did not induce potentiation of pulmonary pathology. In contrast, formalin-inactivated RSV potentiated RSV pulmonary histopathology, but there was a sparing of potentiation at high and low doses. Both the formalin-inactivated RSV and purified F and G preparations induced a high level of serum antibodies capable of binding to purified F and G glycoproteins but both sets of antibodies had significantly reduced neutralizing activity. These results are encouraging because they suggest that purified paramyxovirus glycoproteins might be used safely as a vaccine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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