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Vaccine. 1997 Jul;15(10):1079-84.

A sub-unit vaccine elicits IgG in serum, spleen cell cultures and bronchial washings and protects immunized animals against pneumonic plague.

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DERA (Chemical and Biological Defence Sector), Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK.


In this study, the protection afforded against aerosolized Yersinia pestis by injection of an alhydrogel-adsorbed sub-unit vaccine has been compared with that given by an existing killed whole cell vaccine licensed for human use. The sub-unit vaccine protected mice against exposure to > 10(4) colony-forming units (c.f.u.) of virulent plague organisms (100 LD50 doses), whereas the whole cell vaccine provided only 50% protection against 1.8 x 10(3) c.f.u. In sub-unit vaccinees, IgG to each of the F1 and V antigens contained in the vaccine, was detected in serum, on direct secretion by spleen cells and in broncho-alveolar washings (BAL). In killed whole cell vaccinees, physiologically significant levels of IgG to F1 only were detectable in equivalent samples. Levels of F1-specific IgG in serum, secreted from spleen cells and in BAL were significantly higher (P < 0.01) in sub-unit compared with killed whole cell vaccinees. IgA was not detected in BAL from intra-muscularly dosed sub-unit vaccinees and thus the protection achieved against inhalational challenge with Yersinia pestis is attributed to the induction of systemic immunity to both the F1 and V antigens in the sub-unit vaccine. The enhanced protective efficacy of this sub-unit vaccine over an existing vaccine has been demonstrated in an animal model of pneumonic plague.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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