Progress Toward the Elusive Pseudomonas aeruginosa Vaccine

Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2018 Nov/Dec;19(8):757-768. doi: 10.1089/sur.2018.233. Epub 2018 Nov 15.


Background: The gram-negative bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes a wide range of infections, mostly in hospitalized and immunocompromised patients, those with burns, surgical wounds, or combat-related wounds, and in people with cystic fibrosis. The increasing antibiotic resistance of P. aeruginosa confers a pressing need for vaccines, yet there are no P. aeruginosa vaccines approved for human use, and recent promising candidates have failed in large clinical trials. Discussion: In this review, we summarize recent clinical trials and pre-clinical studies of P. aeruginosa vaccines and provide a suggested framework for the makeup of a future successful vaccine. Murine models of infection suggest that antibodies, specifically opsonophagocytic killing antibodies (OPK), antitoxin antibodies, and anti-attachment antibodies, combined with T cell immunity, specifically TH17 responses, are needed for broad and potent protection against P. aeruginosa infection. A better understanding of the human immune response to P. aeruginosa infections, and to vaccine candidates, will eventually pave the way to a successful vaccine for this wily pathogen.

Keywords: T17; active immunity; adaptive immunity; passive immunity; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Development / trends*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pseudomonas Vaccines / immunology*
  • Pseudomonas Vaccines / isolation & purification*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Pseudomonas Vaccines