Neither antibody to a group B streptococcal conjugate vaccine nor the vaccine itself is teratogenic in rabbits.

Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Human vaccines (Impact Factor: 3.64). 05/2008; 4(6):435-43. DOI: 10.4161/hv.4.6.6178
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of human neonatal bacterial disease, resulting in pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and sometimes, death. Supportive preclinical studies of GBS capsular polysaccharide (CPS)-protein conjugate vaccines have led to several phase 1 and phase 2 trials in healthy, non-pregnant adults, which demonstrated that the vaccines, produced at the Channing Laboratory, were safe and immunogenic. However, evaluation of the safety and immunogenicity of a GBS conjugate vaccine administered to pregnant women demanded that it be manufactured under current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) and that it undergo developmental toxicity evaluation. In this report, we describe a GBS type III CPS-tetanus toxoid (III-TT) vaccine lot 3-1-96 manufactured and vialed under cGMP and our evaluation of the effect of this vaccine and of GBS type III CPS-specific antibody on conception and early- and late-stage fetal development in rabbits. III-TT lot 3-1-96 was compositionally similar to prototype III-TT lot 91-1, produced under non-GMP, and was potent in a mouse maternal vaccination-neonatal pup challenge model of GBS disease. Four groups of 30 female rabbits each were randomized to receive III-TT lot 3-1-96 vaccine, saline-alum, or combinations of these treatments before and after insemination. The dose of conjugated CPS on a weight basis was 1 microg/kg, mimicking the anticipated actual human dose. Based on the weight of the rabbits, this was 20- to 100-fold greater than the expected human dose. Does were pre-assigned to deliver litters naturally or have their kits delivered by Caesarean-section at gestation day 29, to assess late fetal development. Sera from does and kits were collected, and the presence of type III CPS-specific IgG was confirmed by quantitative ELISA. Based on all assessments, GBS type III-TT lot 3-1-96, nor antibody to it did not affect embryo fetal viability, sex ratio, growth or cause malformations (i.e., it was non-teratogenic). In addition, that III-TT lot 3-1-96 was found to be safe and immunogenic in two clinical studies involving healthy non-pregnant adults supports a clinical evaluation of this vaccine in pregnant women.

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    ABSTRACT: An in vitro assay designed to measure the functional activity of vaccine-induced antibody is a necessary component of any vaccine development program. Because traditional efficacy studies of vaccines to prevent neonatal diseases caused by group B Streptococcus (GBS) are unlikely given the effectiveness of current antibiotics and screen-based surveillance practices, the ability to efficiently and effectively measure functional antibody responses may be of particular importance. GBS, like other encapsulated bacterial pathogens, are susceptible to opsonization by specific antibody and complement and subsequent killing by the host's effector cells. The in vitro opsonophagocytosis and killing assay (OPA) mimics this in vivo defense strategy and has been used for decades to measure the functionality of natural and/or vaccine-induced GBS-specific antibody. Here we describe a fluorescence-based OPA (flOPA) that measures the ability of specific antibody to opsonize fixed, fluorescently labeled GBS or antigen-coated fluorescent microspheres for uptake by differentiated HL-60 cells in the presence of complement. Compared to the classical OPA, the flOPA is standardized with respect to effector cells, complement and antigenic targets. The GBS flOPA is also less time-intensive and has the potential to measure antibody to multiple antigens simultaneously. Quantitative functional antibody determinations using the flOPA may serve as a surrogate measure of GBS vaccine effectiveness in lieu of traditional phase 3 efficacy trials.
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial infections remain a significant threat to the health of newborns and adults. Group B Streptococci (GBS) are Gram-positive bacteria that are common asymptomatic colonizers of healthy adults. However, this opportunistic organism can also subvert suboptimal host defenses to cause severe invasive disease and tissue damage. The increasing emergence of antibiotic-resistant GBS raises more concerns for sustained measures in treatment of the disease. A number of factors that are important for virulence of GBS have been identified. This review summarizes the functions of some well-characterized virulence factors, with an emphasis on how GBS regulates their expression. Regulatory and signaling molecules are attractive drug targets in the treatment of bacterial infections. Consequently, understanding signaling responses of GBS is essential for elucidation of pathogenesis of GBS infection and for the identification of novel therapeutic agents.
    Future Microbiology 04/2009; 4(2):201-21. DOI:10.2217/17460913.4.2.201 · 3.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus) is an important cause of disease in infants, pregnant women, the elderly and immunosuppressed adults. An effective vaccine is likely to prevent the majority of infant disease (both early and late onset), to avoid the limitations of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis and to be cost effective. A number of candidates, including capsular conjugate vaccines, have the potential to be successful vaccines. Phase II human studies with capsular conjugate vaccines have been completed successfully. Issues yet to be resolved include the safety and acceptability of vaccination during pregnancy, the durability of vaccine-derived immunity and the regulatory issues required for licensure.
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