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Comparative analysis of the immunologic response induced by the Sterne 34F2 live spore Bacillus anthracis vaccine in a ruminant model

Ndumnego, Okechukwu C., Köhler, Susanne M., Crafford, Jannie, van Heerden, Henriette, Beyer, Wolfgang
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2016 v.178 pp. 14-21
Bacillus anthracis, Boer (goat breed), anthrax, antibodies, antigens, formaldehyde, goats, humoral immunity, immune response, immunoglobulin G, models, neutralization, neutralization tests, qualitative analysis, secondary immunization, spores, vaccination, vaccines
The Sterne 34F2 live spore vaccine (SLSV) developed in 1937 is the most widely used veterinary vaccine against anthrax. However, literature on the immunogenicity of this vaccine in a target ruminant host is scarce. In this study, we evaluated the humoral response to the Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (rPA), a recombinant bacillus collagen-like protein of anthracis (rBclA), formaldehyde inactivated spores (FIS) prepared from strain 34F2 and a vegetative antigen formulation prepared from a capsule and toxin deficient strain (CDC 1014) in Boer goats. The toxin neutralizing ability of induced antibodies was evaluated using an in vitro toxin neutralization assay. The protection afforded by the vaccine was also assessed in vaccinates. Anti-rPA, anti-FIS and lethal toxin neutralizing titres were superior after booster vaccinations, compared to single vaccinations. Qualitative analysis of humoral responses to rPA, rBclA and FIS antigens revealed a preponderance of anti-FIS IgG titres following either single or double vaccinations with the SLSV. Antibodies against FIS and rPA both increased by 350 and 300-fold following revaccinations respectively. There was no response to rBclA following vaccinations with the SLSV. Toxin neutralizing titres increased by 80-fold after single vaccination and 700-fold following a double vaccination. Lethal challenge studies in naïve goats indicated a minimum infective dose of 36 B. anthracis spores. Single and double vaccination with the SLSV protected 4/5 and 3/3 of goats challenged with>800 spores respectively. An early booster vaccination following the first immunization is suggested in order to achieve a robust immunity. Results from this study indicate that this crucial second vaccination can be administered as early as 3 months after the initial vaccination.