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Single dose of DPX-rPA, an enhanced-delivery anthrax vaccine formulation, protects against a lethal Bacillusanthracis spore inhalation challenge

Weir, GM;MacDonald, LD;Rajagopalan, R;Sivko, GS;Valderas, MW;Rayner, J;Berger, BJ;Sammatur, L;Stanford, MM;

Anthrax is a serious biological threat caused by pulmonary exposure to aerosolized spores of Bacillus anthracis. Biothrax (anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA)) is the only Food and Drug Administration-licensed vaccine and requires five administrations over 12 months with annual boosting to maintain pre-exposure prophylaxis. Here we report the evaluation of a single intramuscular injection of recombinant B. anthracis-protective antigen (rPA) formulated in the DPX delivery platform. Immune responses were compared to an alum-based formulation in mice and rabbits. Serological analysis of anti-rPA immunoglobulin G and toxin neutralization activity demonstrated higher responses induced by DPX-rPA when compared to rPA in alum. DPX-rPA was compared to AVA in rabbits and non-human primates (NHPs). In both species, DPX-rPA generated responses after a single immunization, whereas AVA required two immunizations. In rabbits, single injection of DPX-rPA or two injections of AVA conferred 100% protection from anthrax challenge. In NHPs, single-dose DPX-rPA was 100% protective against challenge, whereas one animal in the two-dose AVA group and all saline administered animals succumbed to infection. DPX-rPA was minimally reactogenic in all species tested. These data indicate that DPX-rPA may offer improvement over AVA by reducing the doses needed for protective immune responses and is a promising candidate as a new-generation anthrax vaccine.