There is a need to develop cholera vaccines that are protective in young children under 5 years of age, which induce long-term immunity, and which can be incorporated into the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) in cholera-endemic countries. The degree of protection afforded by currently available oral cholera vaccines (OCV) to young children is significantly lower than that induced by vaccination of older vaccine recipients. Immune responses that protect against cholera target the O-specific polysaccharide (OSP) of Vibrio cholerae, and young children have poor immunological responses to bacterial polysaccharides, which are T cell independent antigens. To overcome this, we have developed a cholera conjugate vaccine (CCV) containing the OSP of V. cholerae O1, the main cause of endemic and epidemic cholera. Here, we describe production of CCV through a scalable manufacturing process and preclinical evaluation of immunogenicity in the presence and absence of aluminum phosphate (alum) as an adjuvant. The vaccine displays V. cholerae O1 Inaba OSP in sun-burst display via single point attachment of core oligosaccharide to a recombinant tetanus toxoid heavy chain fragment (rTTHc). Two different pilot-scale production batches of non-GMP CCV were manufactured and characterized in terms of physico-chemical properties and immunogenicity. In preclinical testing, the vaccine induced OSP- and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-specific IgG and IgM responses, vibriocidal responses, memory B cell responses, and protection in a V. cholerae O1 challenge model. The addition of alum to the administered vaccine increased OSP-specific immune responses. These results support evaluation of CCV in humans.
Keywords: Cholera conjugate vaccine; O-specific polysaccharide; OSP: rTTHc; Vibrio cholerae.
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