Immunogenicity of the Plasmodium falciparum Asexual Blood-Stage Synthetic Peptide Vaccine SPf66

Pascal Millet Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Gary H. Campbell Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Alexander J. Sulzer Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Katharine K. Grady Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Jan Pohl Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Masamichi Aikawa Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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William E. Collins Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Emory University School of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Atlanta, Georgia

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The immunogenicity of the cocktail vaccine SPf66 against Plasmodium falciparum was investigated in rabbits, monkeys, and human volunteers. This polymerized peptide vaccine incorporates a portion of each of the 35-kD, 55-kD, and 83-kD blood-stage proteins, linked by an amino acid sequence reproducing one repeat from the circumsporozoite protein of P. falciparum. Results from this study show that vaccination with this vaccine molecule elicited high titers of antibodies to SPf66 and its constituents, but these antibodies did not correlate with regular or sensitive indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) titers to blood-stage malaria parasites. However, rabbits injected with individual peptides produced antibodies with low affinity to indefinite parasite structures by immunoelectron microscopy, and rabbits injected with SPf66 had high antibody titers against the peptide (NANP)40. Consequently, these anti-SPf66 serum samples recognized P. falciparum sporozoites in the IFA. Such reactivity was not observed in monkeys or human volunteers vaccinated with SPf66. In addition, SPf66 components were recognized by antibodies induced by natural infection in humans and by laboratory-monitored infections in Aotus monkeys. These results suggest that this vaccine candidate merits further developmental work to better define immune response elicited by the copolymer to the parasite.

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