The Ebola virus has caused outbreaks in Central and West Africa, with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Clinical trials of recombinant virally vectored vaccines did not explicitly include pregnant or nursing women, resulting in a gap in knowledge of vaccine-elicited maternal antibody and its potential transfer. The role of maternal antibody in Ebola virus disease and vaccination remains understudied. Here, we demonstrate that a protein subunit vaccine can elicit robust humoral responses in pregnant mice, which are transferred to pups in breastmilk. These findings indicate that an intramuscular protein subunit vaccine may elicit Ebola-specific IgG capable of being transferred across the placenta as well as into the breastmilk. We have previously shown protective efficacy with these vaccines in non-human primates, offering a potential safe and practical alternative to recombinant virally vectored vaccines for pregnant and nursing women in Ebola endemic regions.
Keywords: breastmilk; filoviruses; mice; protein subunit vaccines.