Immunization of Owl Monkeys with a Combination of Plasmodium Falciparum Asexual Blood-Stage Synthetic Peptide Antigens

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  • Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Instituto de Inmunologia, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Atlanta, Georgia

A mixture of 3 synthetic peptides (35.1, 55.1, and 83.1) corresponding to portions of the 35 kDa, 55 kDa, and 83 kDa proteins from the asexual blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum and a polymer of a synthetic peptide incorporating the 3 individual peptides (SPf66) were tested as candidate malaria vaccine antigens in Aotus nancymai. Monkeys were immunized with combinations of the 3 peptides from 2 separate sources (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], Atlanta, GA or Colombia) or with the synthetic polymer. Animals immunized with a combination of the 3 peptides from CDC had higher antibody titers to the 35.1 and 55.1 peptides than to the 83.1 peptide. Monkeys immunized with a combination of the 3 peptides produced in Colombia developed higher levels of antibody to the 55.1 than to the 83.1 and 35.1 peptides. Animals immunized with the polymer produced detectable antibodies to the 55.1 peptide alone. Following challenge with P. falciparum, no differences were observed between the 3 vaccine groups and 2 control groups with respect to the number of animals with parasitemias ≥10%. The inconsistency of serologic response to all 3 peptides in these animals contrasted with previous trials performed in Colombia where the monkeys developed high antibody titers against the 3 peptides and were protected against the experimental infection.

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