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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016 Sep;15(9):1213-22. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2016.1168701. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Progress and challenges associated with the development of ricin toxin subunit vaccines.

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a Division of Infectious Disease, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health , Albany , NY , USA.
b Department of Biomedical Sciences , University at Albany , Albany , NY , USA.


The past several years have seen major advances in the development of a safe and efficacious ricin toxin vaccine, including the completion of two Phase I clinical trials with two different recombinant A subunit (RTA)-based vaccines: RiVax™ and RVEc™ adsorbed to aluminum salt adjuvant, as well as a non-human primate study demonstrating that parenteral immunization with RiVax elicits a serum antibody response that was sufficient to protect against a lethal dose aerosolized ricin exposure. One of the major obstacles moving forward is assessing vaccine efficacy in humans, when neither ricin-specific serum IgG endpoint titers nor toxin-neutralizing antibody levels are accepted as definitive predictors of protective immunity. In this review we summarize ongoing efforts to leverage recent advances in our understanding of RTA-antibody interactions at the structural level to develop novel assays to predict vaccine efficacy in humans.


Toxin; antibody; biodefense; epitope; neutralizing; protection; vaccine

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