Whooping cough vaccine: The power of first impressions

ScienceDaily | 7/9/2018 | Staff
Unraveling the differences between the two vaccines is key to understanding of how to better prevent whooping cough and may also provide important lessons on vaccine efficacy in general, potentially applicable to other vaccines. Specifically, the study, which is slated to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that the new vaccine fell short of generating a robust T cells response, which provides the long-term memory that allows the immune system to mount a rapid response if exposed to the pathogen. "Ideally, you should engage both arms of a protective response against pathogens -- B cells that produce antibodies and T cells that generate long-term memory," says first author Ricardo Antunes, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the Sette lab. "But apparently the new vaccine fails to generate an adequate T cell response."

Traditionally the ability to induce a high antibody titer has been the yardstick against which vaccines have been measured. "Although B cells are a very important component of vaccine efficacy, the important role of T cells is being more and more appreciated and the key point of our study is to show that there are striking differences in the T cell response to the two different vaccines," says Antunes. Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria that causes whooping cough, produces a toxin that causes uncontrollable, sometimes deadly coughing fits. Before a vaccine became available, whooping cough killed thousands of people and caused hundreds of thousands to become ill year after year. With the introduction of the first vaccine, which was crafted from dead bacteria, cases dramatically declined but unwanted side effects from the whole cell (wP) preparation led the U.S. and many other countries to switch to acellular (aP) formulas that relied on purified bacterial proteins to induce immunity. Vaccination against the disease currently involves a series of five...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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