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Construction and evaluation of a pertactin-deficient live attenuated pertussis vaccine candidate BPZE1 derivative

Solans, L;Debrie, AS;Coutte, L;Locht, C;

Pertussis, mainly caused by Bordetella pertussis, is a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal, especially in young infants. Vaccines, massively implemented since the middle of the last century, have substantially reduced the pertussis incidence, but have not been able to fully control the disease. One of the shortcomings of current pertussis vaccines is their inability to prevent infection by and transmission of B. pertussis, in contrast to immunity following natural infection. We have developed the live attenuated nasal vaccine BPZE1 and have shown that it prevents both disease and B. pertussis infection in preclinical models. This vaccine is now in clinical development. However, the initial clinical studies have suggested that vaccine take is hampered by pre-existing antibodies to pertactin. Here, we have constructed a pertactin-deficient BPZE1 derivative called BPZE1P in order to overcome this limitation. BPZE1P colonized the murine respiratory tract as efficiently as BPZE1 and induced antibodies at levels similar to those elicited by BPZE1. In the presence of pre-existing antibodies induced by acellular pertussis vaccination, BPZE1P colonized the mouse respiratory tract more efficiently than BPZE1. Both vaccines protected equally well the murine lungs and noses from challenge with laboratory and clinical strains of B. pertussis, including pertactin-deficient strains, against which current acellular pertussis vaccines are less efficient. BPZE1P may thus be an interesting alternative to BPZE1 to overcome vaccine take limitations due to pre-existing antibodies to pertactin.