Vaccines against coxiellosis and Q fever. Development of a chloroform:methanol residue subunit of phase I Coxiella burnetti for the immunization of animals

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1992 Jun 16;653:88-111. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1992.tb19633.x.


We have demonstrated the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the WC and CMR vaccines in guinea pigs. Vaccination of guinea pigs with either WC or CMR protects animals against challenge with virulent C. burnetii. A total of 2 micrograms of either WC or CMR vaccine was a significant priming dose. A total of 20 micrograms gave complete protection against lethal challenge. Detection of antibodies to phase II cells by microaglutination, after vaccination with either WC or CMR and before lethal challenge, correlated with the ability of guinea pigs to mount a protective immune response. The PD50 values for WC and CMR vaccines, administered as a single dose, were 0.3 and 1.4 micrograms per animal, respectively. In contrast, the PD50 values for the WC and CMR vaccines, administered as two doses, were 0.83 and 0.72 micrograms per animal, respectively. Although the PD50 values for the two vaccines are similar, the CMR vaccine is preferred over the WC vaccine because it induces significantly fewer adverse reactions, and repeat injections can be given. Unvaccinated guinea pigs do not clear infectious microorganisms after challenge infection. Vaccination before challenge infection reduces the infectious load of C. burnetti in the blood and in various organs of the animals. When vaccinated animals were challenge infected and treated with rifampicin, the microorganisms were not eliminated from various organs. However, the combination of vaccination, challenge, and rifampicin treatment is effective in reducing the number of infectious microorganisms in some of these sites. We have demonstrated the safety and immunogenicity of the CMR vaccine in sheep and goats. Animals that were seropositive for one or more antigens developed significant levels of antibodies to alternate antigens, but no adverse reactions were observed at the site of s.c. injection of the CMR vaccine. This demonstrates that seropositive animals can be successfully immunized with this vaccine. These results also indicate that a long-term vaccination program using the CMR vaccine has the potential for producing animals with significant antibody titers to C. burnetii and perhaps lifelong immunity. The goal of a Q fever vaccination program is to produce immunized animals that are able to clear completely the infectious microorganisms. The appropriate vaccination schedule to render adult animals and their offspring "Q fever-free" should now be thoroughly investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Vaccines* / adverse effects
  • Bacterial Vaccines* / immunology
  • Coxiella burnetii / immunology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Goats
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mice
  • Q Fever / prevention & control*
  • Sheep
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / adverse effects
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology


  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Synthetic