Division of Parasitic Diseases, and Scientific Resources Program, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services, Chiron Corporation, Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
Two Saimiri monkey vaccine trials have been conducted comparing four recombinant Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite proteins and irradiated sporozoites. Only a small number of animals immunized with certain recombinants or irradiated sporozoites became fully protected against sporozoite challenge. Preimmunization and postimmunization plasma samples obtained from 30 monkeys on the day of challenge were tested in an in vitro assay based on sporozoite development into exoerythrocytic stages in primary cultures of Saimiri monkey hepatocytes. The percentage of inhibition was determined by comparison of the number of exoerythrocytic stages developing from sporozoites preincubated with a preimmunization and a postimmunization plasma sample of each animal. The plasma samples of the day of challenge of nearly all the immunized animals had a variable, but significant inhibitory effect, when compared with the corresponding preimmunization sample. We found no correlation between the degree of in vitro inhibition of liver stage development, and the in vivo protection against sporozoite challenge of individual animals. The variable results of the incubation of sporozoites with “normal” plasma of different animals indicates that the in vitro results were affected by plasma factors unrelated to anti-sporozoite antibodies.