Preclinical efficacy and immunogenicity assessment to show that a chimeric Plasmodium falciparum UB05-09 antigen could be a malaria vaccine candidate.

01 Mar 2018
Dinga JN, Gamua SD, Ghogomu SM, Titanji VPK

Although it is generally agreed that an effective vaccine would greatly accelerate the control of malaria, the lone registered malaria vaccine Mosquirix™ has an efficacy of 30%-60% that wanes rapidly, indicating a need for improved second-generation malaria vaccines. Previous studies suggested that immune responses to a chimeric Plasmodium falciparum antigen UB05-09 are associated with immune protection against malaria. Herein, the preclinical efficacy and immunogenicity of UB05-09 are tested. Growth inhibition assay was employed to measure the effect of anti-UB05-09 antibodies on P. falciparum growth in vitro. BALB/c mice were immunized with UB05-09 and challenged with the lethal Plasmodium yoelii 17XL infection. ELISA was used to measure antigen-specific antibody production. ELISPOT assays were employed to measure interferon-gamma production ex vivo after stimulation with chimeric UB05-09 and its constituent antigens. Purified immunoglobulins raised in rabbits against UB05-09 significantly inhibited P. falciparum growth in vitro compared to that of its respective constituent antigens. A combination of antibodies to UB05-09 and the apical membrane antigen (AMA1) completely inhibited P. falciparum growth in culture. Immunization of BALB/c mice with recombinant UB05-09 blocked parasitaemia and protected them against lethal P. yoelii 17XL challenge infection. These data suggest that UB05-09 is a malaria vaccine candidate that could be developed further and used in conjunction with AMA1 to create a potent malaria vaccine.