Background: Several vaccine platforms have been successfully evaluated for prevention of Ebola virus (EBOV) disease (EVD) in nonhuman primates and humans. Despite remarkable efficacy by multiple vaccines, the immunological correlates of protection against EVD are incompletely understood.
Methods: We systematically evaluated the antibody response to various EBOV proteins in 79 nonhuman primates vaccinated with various EBOV vaccine platforms. We evaluated the serum immunoglobulin (Ig)G titers against EBOV glycoprotein (GP), the ability of the vaccine-induced antibodies to bind GP at acidic pH or to displace ZMapp, and virus neutralization titers. The correlation of these outcomes with survival from EVD was evaluated by appropriate statistical methods.
Results: Irrespective of the vaccine platform, protection from EVD strongly correlated with anti-GP IgG titers. The GP-directed antibody levels required for protection in animals vaccinated with virus-like particles (VLPs) lacking nucleoprotein (NP) was significantly higher than animals immunized with NP-containing VLPs or adenovirus-expressed GP, platforms that induce strong T-cell responses. Furthermore, protective immune responses correlated with anti-GP antibody binding strength at acidic pH, neutralization of GP-expressing pseudovirions, and the ability to displace ZMapp components from GP.
Conclusions: These findings suggest key quantitative and qualitative attributes of antibody response to EVD vaccines as potential correlates of protection.