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Vaccine. 1995 Aug;13(12):1086-94.

Incomplete protection of hamsters vaccinated with unlipidated OspA from Borrelia burgdorferi infection is associated with low levels of antibody to an epitope defined by mAb LA-2.

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Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA.


Efforts to develop a recombinant vaccine for Lyme disease have focused on using the outer surface protein A (OspA) of Borrelia burgdorferi as an immunogen. We evaluated the effectiveness of an unlipidated recombinant OspA as a vaccine in hamsters. This molecule is soluble and can be produced in high yield in Escherichia coli, characteristics that permit simple and relatively low cost production. Vaccination with unlipidated OspA protected a substantial portion of animals--59-79%, depending on the challenge strain and route--against moderate doses of spirochetes delivered either by injection or by bite of infected nymphal ticks (Ixodes scapularis). The instances of vaccine failure were associated with development of low levels of antibody to a particular OspA epitope, one defined by mAb LA-2. At least 50 ng ml-1 of LA-2 equivalent antibody was necessary for protection of hamsters. Lower LA-2 equivalent antibody concentrations occurred in unprotected animals in the presence of high-titered polyclonal antibody to native OspA. A competitive binding assay to quantitate this serum fraction is described that should be of use in monitoring the quality of the antibody response to OspA in vaccine trials. Concentrations of LA-2 equivalent antibody parallel the ability of the serum specimens to inhibit the growth of B. burgdorferi in culture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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