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Development of a Novel Vaccine Containing Binary Toxin for the Prevention of Clostridium difficile Disease with Enhanced Efficacy against NAP1 Strains

Secore, S;Wang, S;Doughtry, J;Xie, J;Miezeiewski, M;Rustandi, RR;Horton, M;Xoconostle, R;Wang, B;Lancaster, C;Kristopeit, A;Wang, SC;Christanti, S;Vitelli, S;Gentile, MP;Goerke, A;Skinner, J;Strable, E;Thiriot, DS;Bodmer, JL;Heinrichs, JH;

Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are a leading cause of nosocomial diarrhea in the developed world. The main virulence factors of the bacterium are the large clostridial toxins (LCTs), TcdA and TcdB, which are largely responsible for the symptoms of the disease. Recent outbreaks of CDI have been associated with the emergence of hypervirulent strains, such as NAP1/BI/027, many strains of which also produce a third toxin, binary toxin (CDTa and CDTb). These hypervirulent strains have been associated with increased morbidity and higher mortality. Here we present pre-clinical data describing a novel tetravalent vaccine composed of attenuated forms of TcdA, TcdB and binary toxin components CDTa and CDTb. We demonstrate, using the Syrian golden hamster model of CDI, that the inclusion of binary toxin components CDTa and CDTb significantly improves the efficacy of the vaccine against challenge with NAP1 strains in comparison to vaccines containing only TcdA and TcdB antigens, while providing comparable efficacy against challenge with the prototypic, non-epidemic strain VPI10463. This combination vaccine elicits high neutralizing antibody titers against TcdA, TcdB and binary toxin in both hamsters and rhesus macaques. Finally we present data that binary toxin alone can act as a virulence factor in animal models. Taken together, these data strongly support the inclusion of binary toxin in a vaccine against CDI to provide enhanced protection from epidemic strains of C. difficile.