Yersinia pestis, the cause of plague, could be weaponized. Unfortunately, development of new vaccines is limited by lack of correlates of protection. We used pre- and post-vaccination sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a flagellin adjuvanted F1/V vaccine trial to evaluate for protective markers. Here, we report for the first time in humans that inverse caspase-3 levels, which are measures of protective antibody, significantly increased by 29% and 75% on days 14 and 28 post-second vaccination, respectively. In addition, there were significant increases in T-cell responses on day 28 post-second vaccination. The strongest positive and negative correlations between protective antibody levels and gene expression signatures were identified for IFNG and ENSG00000225107 genes, respectively. Flagellin/F1/V subunit vaccine induced macrophage-protective antibody and significant CD4+ T-cell responses. Several genes associated with these responses were identified that could serve as potential correlates of protection.
Keywords: Adjuvants; Peptide vaccines.
© The Author(s) 2020.