register interest

Professor Adrian VS Hill

Research Area: Global Health
Technology Exchange: Computational biology, In vivo imaging, Medical statistics, Microscopy (EM), SNP typing, Statistical genetics and Vaccine production and evaluation
Scientific Themes: Immunology & Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine & Global Health
Keywords: Vaccines, Malaria, Genetic Susceptibility, Ebola, Immunology, Tuberculosis and Clinical trial
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Adrian Hill’s detailed analyses of HLA polymorphism and malaria susceptibility in African children led to an interest in vaccine development, particularly assessing T cell-inducing vaccines against malaria. In murine studies he identified the enhanced T cell immunogenicity of non-replicating poxviruses as boosting agents in vaccination protocols. This led to phase I clinical trials of both DNA and MVA vaccines for malaria starting in 1999. His group showed the first T cell mediated protection of human vaccinees by using DNA-MVA and fowlpox-MVA prime-boost regimes against the liver-stage of malaria.

To achieve greater levels of protective efficacy his group is currently developing more immunogenic prime-boost regimes involving recombinant chimpanzee adenoviruses as priming agents and MVA as a boosting agent. This type of regime has now shown excellent immunogenicity in over 20 clinical trials for malaria with significant efficacy. More immunogenic vectored vaccines are being developed using new internal adjuvants that work well in viral vectors, along with a range of new liver-stage target antigens. A very promising new virus-like particle vaccine, R21, has been developed as an a potentially improved version of the leading RTS,S vaccine candidate and this will be combined with viral vectors targeting the liver-stage in upcoming clinical trials.

In 2014 his group led the first clinical trial of a monovalent Ebola virus vaccine aimed at targeting the outbreak strain of Ebola virus in West Africa.

His immunogenetics programme includes genome-wide and exomic association studies of bacterial diseases, particularly tuberculosis, sepsis and pneumococcal disease. The group also has interests in susceptibility to Salmonella infections in Africa and to rheumatic heart disease in Pacific Islanders. A new programme is studying the genetic basis of variable responses to vaccination with several childhood vaccines.

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Sarah C Gilbert Jenner Institute Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Helen McShane Jenner Institute Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Simon J Draper Jenner Institute Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Sumi Biswas Jenner Institute Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Kevin Marsh Tropical Medicine Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Anthony Scott Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Kilifi Kenya
Professor Julian C Knight Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics Oxford University, Henry Wellcome Building of Genomic Medicine United Kingdom
Dr Chris S Garrard NDM Strategic Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital United Kingdom
Professor Ellie (Eleanor) Barnes Experimental Medicine Division Oxford University, Peter Medawar Building United Kingdom
Professor Paul Klenerman Experimental Medicine Division Oxford University, Peter Medawar Building United Kingdom
Collins KA, Snaith R, Cottingham MG, Gilbert SC, Hill AVS. 2017. Enhancing protective immunity to malaria with a highly immunogenic virus-like particle vaccine. Sci Rep, 7 pp. 46621. | Show Abstract | Read more

The leading malaria vaccine in development is the circumsporozoite protein (CSP)-based particle vaccine, RTS,S, which targets the pre-erythrocytic stage of Plasmodium falciparum infection. It induces modest levels of protective efficacy, thought to be mediated primarily by CSP-specific antibodies. We aimed to enhance vaccine efficacy by generating a more immunogenic CSP-based particle vaccine and therefore developed a next-generation RTS,S-like vaccine, called R21. The major improvement is that in contrast to RTS,S, R21 particles are formed from a single CSP-hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) fusion protein, and this leads to a vaccine composed of a much higher proportion of CSP than in RTS,S. We demonstrate that in BALB/c mice R21 is immunogenic at very low doses and when administered with the adjuvants Abisco-100 and Matrix-M it elicits sterile protection against transgenic sporozoite challenge. Concurrent induction of potent cellular and humoral immune responses was also achieved by combining R21 with TRAP-based viral vectors and protective efficacy was significantly enhanced. In addition, in contrast to RTS,S, only a minimal antibody response to the HBsAg carrier was induced. These studies identify an anti-sporozoite vaccine component that may improve upon the current leading malaria vaccine RTS,S. R21 is now under evaluation in Phase 1/2a clinical trials.

Salman AM, Montoya-Díaz E, West H, Lall A, Atcheson E, Lopez-Camacho C, Ramesar J, Bauza K, Collins KA, Brod F et al. 2017. Rational development of a protective P. vivax vaccine evaluated with transgenic rodent parasite challenge models. Sci Rep, 7 pp. 46482. | Show Abstract | Read more

Development of a protective and broadly-acting vaccine against the most widely distributed human malaria parasite, Plasmodium vivax, will be a major step towards malaria elimination. However, a P. vivax vaccine has remained elusive by the scarcity of pre-clinical models to test protective efficacy and support further clinical trials. In this study, we report the development of a highly protective CSP-based P. vivax vaccine, a virus-like particle (VLP) known as Rv21, able to provide 100% sterile protection against a stringent sporozoite challenge in rodent models to malaria, where IgG2a antibodies were associated with protection in absence of detectable PvCSP-specific T cell responses. Additionally, we generated two novel transgenic rodent P. berghei parasite lines, where the P. berghei csp gene coding sequence has been replaced with either full-length P. vivax VK210 or the allelic VK247 csp that additionally express GFP-Luciferase. Efficacy of Rv21 surpassed viral-vectored vaccination using ChAd63 and MVA. We show for the first time that a chimeric VK210/247 antigen can elicit high level cross-protection against parasites expressing either CSP allele, which provide accessible and affordable models suitable to support the development of P. vivax vaccines candidates. Rv21 is progressing to GMP production and has entered a path towards clinical evaluation.

Ford T, Wenden C, Mbekeani A, Dally L, Cox JH, Morin M, Winstone N, Hill AV, Gilmour J, Ewer KJ. 2017. Cryopreservation-related loss of antigen-specific IFNγ producing CD4(+) T-cells can skew immunogenicity data in vaccine trials: Lessons from a malaria vaccine trial substudy. Vaccine, 35 (15), pp. 1898-1906. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ex vivo functional immunoassays such as ELISpot and intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) by flow cytometry are crucial tools in vaccine development both in the identification of novel immunogenic targets and in the immunological assessment of samples from clinical trials. Cryopreservation and subsequent thawing of PBMCs via validated processes has become a mainstay of clinical trials due to processing restrictions inherent in the disparate location and capacity of trial centres, and also in the need to standardize biological assays at central testing facilities. Logistical and financial requirement to batch process samples from multiple study timepoints are also key. We used ELISpot and ICS assays to assess antigen-specific immunogenicity in blood samples taken from subjects enrolled in a phase II malaria heterologous prime-boost vaccine trial and showed that the freeze thaw process can result in a 3-5-fold reduction of malaria antigen-specific IFNγ-producing CD3(+)CD4(+) effector populations from PBMC samples taken post vaccination. We have also demonstrated that peptide responsive CD8(+) T cells are relatively unaffected, as well as CD4(+) T cell populations that do not produce IFNγ. These findings contribute to a growing body of data that could be consolidated and synthesised as guidelines for clinical trials with the aim of increasing the efficiency of vaccine development pipelines.

Wang L, Ko ER, Gilchrist JJ, Pittman KJ, Rautanen A, Pirinen M, Thompson JW, Dubois LG, Langley RJ, Jaslow SL et al. 2017. Human genetic and metabolite variation reveals that methylthioadenosine is a prognostic biomarker and an inflammatory regulator in sepsis. Sci Adv, 3 (3), pp. e1602096. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sepsis is a deleterious inflammatory response to infection with high mortality. Reliable sepsis biomarkers could improve diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Integration of human genetics, patient metabolite and cytokine measurements, and testing in a mouse model demonstrate that the methionine salvage pathway is a regulator of sepsis that can accurately predict prognosis in patients. Pathway-based genome-wide association analysis of nontyphoidal Salmonella bacteremia showed a strong enrichment for single-nucleotide polymorphisms near the components of the methionine salvage pathway. Measurement of the pathway's substrate, methylthioadenosine (MTA), in two cohorts of sepsis patients demonstrated increased plasma MTA in nonsurvivors. Plasma MTA was correlated with levels of inflammatory cytokines, indicating that elevated MTA marks a subset of patients with excessive inflammation. A machine-learning model combining MTA and other variables yielded approximately 80% accuracy (area under the curve) in predicting death. Furthermore, mice infected with Salmonella had prolonged survival when MTA was administered before infection, suggesting that manipulating MTA levels could regulate the severity of the inflammatory response. Our results demonstrate how combining genetic data, biomolecule measurements, and animal models can shape our understanding of disease and lead to new biomarkers for patient stratification and potential therapeutic targeting.

Alves E, Salman AM, Leoratti F, Lopez-Camacho C, Viveros-Sandoval ME, Lall A, El-Turabi A, Bachmann MF, Hill AV, Janse CJ et al. 2017. Evaluation of Plasmodium vivax Cell-Traversal Protein for Ookinetes and Sporozoites as a Preerythrocytic P. vivax Vaccine. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 24 (4), pp. e00501-16-e00501-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

Four different vaccine platforms, each targeting the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax cell-traversal protein for ookinetes and sporozoites (PvCelTOS), were generated and assessed for protective efficacy. These platforms consisted of a recombinant chimpanzee adenoviral vector 63 (ChAd63) expressing PvCelTOS (Ad), a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing PvCelTOS (MVA), PvCelTOS conjugated to bacteriophage Qβ virus-like particles (VLPs), and a recombinant PvCelTOS protein expressed in eukaryotic HEK293T cells (protein). Inbred BALB/c mice and outbred CD-1 mice were immunized using the following prime-boost regimens: Ad-MVA, Ad-VLPs, and Ad-protein. Protective efficacy against sporozoite challenge was assessed after immunization using a novel chimeric rodent Plasmodium berghei parasite (Pb-PvCelTOS). This chimeric parasite expresses P. vivax CelTOS in place of the endogenous P. berghei CelTOS and produces fully infectious sporozoites. A single Ad immunization in BALB/c and CD-1 mice induced anti-PvCelTOS antibodies which were boosted efficiently using MVA, VLP, or protein immunization. PvCelTOS-specific gamma interferon- and tumor necrosis factor alpha-producing CD8(+) T cells were induced at high frequencies by all prime-boost regimens in BALB/c mice but not in CD-1 mice; in CD-1 mice, they were only marginally increased after boosting with MVA. Despite the induction of anti-PvCelTOS antibodies and PvCelTOS-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses, only low levels of protective efficacy against challenge with Pb-PvCelTOS sporozoites were obtained using any immunization strategy. In BALB/c mice, no immunization regimens provided significant protection against a Pb-PvCelTOS chimeric sporozoite challenge. In CD-1 mice, modest protective efficacy against challenge with chimeric P. berghei sporozoites expressing either PvCelTOS or P. falciparum CelTOS was observed using the Ad-protein vaccination regimen.

Bliss CM, Drammeh A, Bowyer G, Sanou GS, Jagne YJ, Ouedraogo O, Edwards NJ, Tarama C, Ouedraogo N, Ouedraogo M et al. 2017. Viral Vector Malaria Vaccines Induce High-Level T Cell and Antibody Responses in West African Children and Infants. Mol Ther, 25 (2), pp. 547-559. | Show Abstract | Read more

Heterologous prime-boosting with viral vectors encoding the pre-erythrocytic antigen thrombospondin-related adhesion protein fused to a multiple epitope string (ME-TRAP) induces CD8(+) T cell-mediated immunity to malaria sporozoite challenge in European malaria-naive and Kenyan semi-immune adults. This approach has yet to be evaluated in children and infants. We assessed this vaccine strategy among 138 Gambian and Burkinabe children in four cohorts: 2- to 6-year olds in The Gambia, 5- to 17-month-olds in Burkina Faso, and 5- to 12-month-olds and 10-week-olds in The Gambia. We assessed induction of cellular immunity, taking into account the distinctive hematological status of young infants, and characterized the antibody response to vaccination. T cell responses peaked 7 days after boosting with modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), with highest responses in infants aged 10 weeks at priming. Incorporating lymphocyte count into the calculation of T cell responses facilitated a more physiologically relevant comparison of cellular immunity across different age groups. Both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells secreted cytokines. Induced antibodies were up to 20-fold higher in all groups compared with Gambian and United Kingdom (UK) adults, with comparable or higher avidity. This immunization regimen elicited strong immune responses, particularly in young infants, supporting future evaluation of efficacy in this key target age group for a malaria vaccine.

Spencer AJ, Longley RJ, Gola A, Ulaszewska M, Lambe T, Hill AV. 2017. The Threshold of Protection from Liver-Stage Malaria Relies on a Fine Balance between the Number of Infected Hepatocytes and Effector CD8(+) T Cells Present in the Liver. J Immunol, 198 (5), pp. 2006-2016. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since the demonstration of sterile protection afforded by injection of irradiated sporozoites, CD8(+) T cells have been shown to play a significant role in protection from liver-stage malaria. This is, however, dependent on the presence of an extremely high number of circulating effector cells, thought to be necessary to scan, locate, and kill infected hepatocytes in the short time that parasites are present in the liver. We used an adoptive transfer model to elucidate the kinetics of the effector CD8(+) T cell response in the liver following Plasmodium berghei sporozoite challenge. Although effector CD8(+) T cells require <24 h to find, locate, and kill infected hepatocytes, active migration of Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells into the liver was not observed during the 2-d liver stage of infection, as divided cells were only detected from day 3 postchallenge. However, the percentage of donor cells recruited into division was shown to indicate the level of Ag presentation from infected hepatocytes. By titrating the number of transferred Ag-specific effector CD8(+) T cells and sporozoites, we demonstrate that achieving protection toward liver-stage malaria is reliant on CD8(+) T cells being able to locate infected hepatocytes, resulting in a protection threshold dependent on a fine balance between the number of infected hepatocytes and CD8(+) T cells present in the liver. With such a fine balance determining protection, achieving a high number of CD8(+) T cells will be critical to the success of a cell-mediated vaccine against liver-stage malaria.

Churcher TS, Sinden RE, Edwards NJ, Poulton ID, Rampling TW, Brock PM, Griffin JT, Upton LM, Zakutansky SE, Sala KA et al. 2017. Probability of Transmission of Malaria from Mosquito to Human Is Regulated by Mosquito Parasite Density in Naïve and Vaccinated Hosts. PLoS Pathog, 13 (1), pp. e1006108. | Show Abstract | Read more

Over a century since Ronald Ross discovered that malaria is caused by the bite of an infectious mosquito it is still unclear how the number of parasites injected influences disease transmission. Currently it is assumed that all mosquitoes with salivary gland sporozoites are equally infectious irrespective of the number of parasites they harbour, though this has never been rigorously tested. Here we analyse >1000 experimental infections of humans and mice and demonstrate a dose-dependency for probability of infection and the length of the host pre-patent period. Mosquitoes with a higher numbers of sporozoites in their salivary glands following blood-feeding are more likely to have caused infection (and have done so quicker) than mosquitoes with fewer parasites. A similar dose response for the probability of infection was seen for humans given a pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidate targeting circumsporozoite protein (CSP), and in mice with and without transfusion of anti-CSP antibodies. These interventions prevented infection more efficiently from bites made by mosquitoes with fewer parasites. The importance of parasite number has widespread implications across malariology, ranging from our basic understanding of the parasite, how vaccines are evaluated and the way in which transmission should be measured in the field. It also provides direct evidence for why the only registered malaria vaccine RTS,S was partially effective in recent clinical trials.

Burnham KL, Davenport EE, Radhakrishnan J, Humburg P, Gordon AC, Hutton P, Svoren-Jabalera E, Garrard C, Hill AV, Hinds CJ, Knight JC. 2016. Shared and Distinct Aspects of the Sepsis Transcriptomic Response to Fecal Peritonitis and Pneumonia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Heterogeneity in the septic response has hindered efforts to understand pathophysiology and develop targeted therapies. Source of infection, with different causative organisms and temporal changes, might influence this heterogeneity. OBJECTIVES: To investigate individual and temporal variation in the transcriptomic response to sepsis due to fecal peritonitis, and to compare with community acquired pneumonia. METHODS: We performed genome-wide gene expression profiling in peripheral blood leukocytes for adult patients admitted to intensive care with sepsis due to fecal peritonitis (n=117) or community acquired pneumonia (n=126), and non-septic controls (n=10). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A substantial portion of the transcribed genome (18%) was differentially expressed compared to controls, independent of source of infection, with EIF2 signaling the most enriched canonical pathway. We identify two sepsis response signature subgroups in fecal peritonitis associated with early mortality (p-value=0.01, hazard ratio=4.78). We define gene sets predictive of SRS group, and serial sampling demonstrates subgroup membership is dynamic during ICU admission. We find SRS is the major predictor of transcriptomic variation; a small number of genes (n=263) were differentially regulated according to the source of infection, enriched for interferon signaling and antigen presentation. We define temporal changes in gene expression from disease onset involving phagosome formation, NK cell and IL-3 signaling. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of the sepsis transcriptomic response is independent of source of infection and includes signatures reflecting immune response state and prognosis. A modest number of genes show evidence of specificity. Our findings highlight opportunities for patient stratification and precision medicine in sepsis.

Longley RJ, Halbroth BR, Salman AM, Ewer KJ, Hodgson SH, Janse CJ, Khan SM, Hill AV, Spencer AJ. 2017. Assessment of the Plasmodium falciparum Preerythrocytic Antigen UIS3 as a Potential Candidate for a Malaria Vaccine. Infect Immun, 85 (3), pp. e00641-16-e00641-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

Efforts are under way to improve the efficacy of subunit malaria vaccines through assessments of new adjuvants, vaccination platforms, and antigens. In this study, we further assessed the Plasmodium falciparum antigen upregulated in infective sporozoites 3 (PfUIS3) as a vaccine candidate. PfUIS3 was expressed in the viral vectors chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and used to immunize mice in a prime-boost regimen. We previously demonstrated that this regimen could provide partial protection against challenge with chimeric P. berghei parasites expressing PfUIS3. We now show that ChAd63-MVA PfUIS3 can also provide partial cross-species protection against challenge with wild-type P. berghei parasites. We also show that PfUIS3-specific cellular memory responses could be recalled in human volunteers exposed to P. falciparum parasites in a controlled human malaria infection study. When ChAd63-MVA PfUIS3 was coadministered with the vaccine candidate P. falciparum thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (PfTRAP) expressed in the ChAd63-MVA system, there was no significant change in immunogenicity to either vaccine. However, when mice were challenged with double chimeric P. berghei-P. falciparum parasites expressing both PfUIS3 and PfTRAP, vaccine efficacy was improved to 100% sterile protection. This synergistic effect was evident only when the two vaccines were mixed and administered at the same site. We have therefore demonstrated that vaccination with PfUIS3 can induce a consistent delay in patent parasitemia across mouse strains and against chimeric parasites expressing PfUIS3 as well as wild-type P. berghei; when this vaccine is combined with another partially protective regimen (ChAd63-MVA PfTRAP), complete protection is induced.

Hodgson SH, Llewellyn D, Silk SE, Milne KH, Elias SC, Miura K, Kamuyu G, Juma EA, Magiri C, Muia A et al. 2016. Changes in Serological Immunology Measures in UK and Kenyan Adults Post-controlled Human Malaria Infection. Front Microbiol, 7 (OCT), pp. 1604. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: The timing of infection is closely determined in controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies, and as such they provide a unique opportunity to dissect changes in immunological responses before and after a single infection. The first Kenyan Challenge Study (KCS) (Pan African Clinical Trial Registry: PACTR20121100033272) was performed in 2013 with the aim of establishing the CHMI model in Kenya. This study used aseptic, cryopreserved, attenuated Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites administered by needle and syringe (PfSPZ Challenge) and was the first to evaluate parasite dynamics post-CHMI in individuals with varying degrees of prior exposure to malaria. Methods: We describe detailed serological and functional immunological responses pre- and post-CHMI for participants in the KCS and compare these with those from malaria-naïve UK volunteers who also underwent CHMI (VAC049) ( NCT01465048) using PfSPZ Challenge. We assessed antibody responses to three key blood-stage merozoite antigens [merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1), apical membrane protein 1 (AMA1), and reticulocyte-binding protein homolog 5 (RH5)] and functional activity using two candidate measures of anti-merozoite immunity; the growth inhibition activity (GIA) assay and the antibody-dependent respiratory burst activity (ADRB) assay. Results:Clear serological differences were observed pre- and post-CHMI by ELISA between malaria-naïve UK volunteers in VAC049, and Kenyan volunteers who had prior malaria exposure. Antibodies to AMA1 and schizont extract correlated with parasite multiplication rate (PMR) post-CHMI in KCS. Serum from volunteer 110 in KCS, who demonstrated a dramatically reduced PMR in vivo, had no in vitro GIA prior to CHMI but the highest level of ADRB activity. A significant difference in ADRB activity was seen between KCS volunteers with minimal and definite prior exposure to malaria and significant increases were seen in ADRB activity post-CHMI in Kenyan volunteers. Quinine and atovaquone/proguanil, previously assumed to be removed by IgG purification, were identified as likely giving rise to aberrantly high in vitro GIA results. Conclusions: The ADRB activity assay is a promising functional assay that warrants further investigation as a measure of prior exposure to malaria and predictor of control of parasite growth. The CHMI model can be used to evaluate potential measures of naturally-acquired immunity to malaria.

Scherag A, Schöneweck F, Kesselmeier M, Taudien S, Platzer M, Felder M, Sponholz C, Rautanen A, Hill AV, Hinds CJ et al. 2016. Genetic Factors of the Disease Course after Sepsis: A Genome-Wide Study for 28Day Mortality. EBioMedicine, 12 pp. 239-246. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sepsis is the dysregulated host response to an infection which leads to life-threatening organ dysfunction that varies by host genomic factors. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 740 adult septic patients and focused on 28day mortality as outcome. Variants with suggestive evidence for an association (p≤10(-5)) were validated in two additional GWA studies (n=3470) and gene coding regions related to the variants were assessed in an independent exome sequencing study (n=74). In the discovery GWAS, we identified 243 autosomal variants which clustered in 14 loci (p≤10(-5)). The best association signal (rs117983287; p=8.16×10(-8)) was observed for a missense variant located at chromosome 9q21.2 in the VPS13A gene. VPS13A was further supported by additional GWAS (p=0.03) and sequencing data (p=0.04). Furthermore, CRISPLD2 (p=5.99×10(-6)) and a region on chromosome 13q21.33 (p=3.34×10(-7)) were supported by both our data and external biological evidence. We found 14 loci with suggestive evidence for an association with 28day mortality and found supportive, converging evidence for three of them in independent data sets. Elucidating the underlying biological mechanisms of VPS13A, CRISPLD2, and the chromosome 13 locus should be a focus of future research activities.

Rampling T, Ewer KJ, Bowyer G, Bliss CM, Edwards NJ, Wright D, Payne RO, Venkatraman N, de Barra E, Snudden CM et al. 2016. Safety and High Level Efficacy of the Combination Malaria Vaccine Regimen of RTS,S/AS01B With Chimpanzee Adenovirus 63 and Modified Vaccinia Ankara Vectored Vaccines Expressing ME-TRAP. J Infect Dis, 214 (5), pp. 772-781. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The need for a highly efficacious vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum remains pressing. In this controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) study, we assessed the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of a schedule combining 2 distinct vaccine types in a staggered immunization regimen: one inducing high-titer antibodies to circumsporozoite protein (RTS,S/AS01B) and the other inducing potent T-cell responses to thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (TRAP) by using a viral vector. METHOD: Thirty-seven healthy malaria-naive adults were vaccinated with either a chimpanzee adenovirus 63 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored vaccine expressing a multiepitope string fused to TRAP and 3 doses of RTS,S/AS01B (group 1; n = 20) or 3 doses of RTS,S/AS01B alone (group 2; n = 17). CHMI was delivered by mosquito bites to 33 vaccinated subjects at week 12 after the first vaccination and to 6 unvaccinated controls. RESULTS: No suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions or severe adverse events related to vaccination were reported. Protective vaccine efficacy was observed in 14 of 17 subjects (82.4%) in group 1 and 12 of 16 subjects (75%) in group 2. All control subjects received a diagnosis of blood-stage malaria parasite infection. Both vaccination regimens were immunogenic. Fourteen protected subjects underwent repeat CHMI 6 months after initial CHMI; 7 of 8 (87.5%) in group 1 and 5 of 6 (83.3%) in group 2 remained protected. CONCLUSIONS: The high level of sterile efficacy observed in this trial is encouraging for further evaluation of combination approaches using these vaccine types. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01883609.

Afolabi MO, Tiono AB, Adetifa UJ, Yaro JB, Drammeh A, Nébié I, Bliss C, Hodgson SH, Anagnostou NA, Sanou GS et al. 2016. Safety and Immunogenicity of ChAd63 and MVA ME-TRAP in West African Children and Infants. Mol Ther, 24 (8), pp. 1470-1477. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria remains a significant global health burden and a vaccine would make a substantial contribution to malaria control. Chimpanzee Adenovirus 63 Modified Vaccinia Ankara Multiple epitope thrombospondin adhesion protein (ME-TRAP) and vaccination has shown significant efficacy against malaria sporozoite challenge in malaria-naive European volunteers and against malaria infection in Kenyan adults. Infants are the target age group for malaria vaccination; however, no studies have yet assessed T-cell responses in children and infants. We enrolled 138 Gambian and Burkinabe children in four different age-groups: 2-6 years old in The Gambia; 5-17 months old in Burkina Faso; 5-12 months old, and also 10 weeks old, in The Gambia; and evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of Chimpanzee Adenovirus 63 Modified Vaccinia Ankara ME-TRAP heterologous prime-boost immunization. The vaccines were well tolerated in all age groups with no vaccine-related serious adverse events. T-cell responses to vaccination peaked 7 days after boosting with Modified Vaccinia Ankara, with T-cell responses highest in 10 week-old infants. Heterologous prime-boost immunization with Chimpanzee Adenovirus 63 and Modified Vaccinia Ankara ME-TRAP was well tolerated in infants and children, inducing strong T-cell responses. We identify an approach that induces potent T-cell responses in infants, which may be useful for preventing other infectious diseases requiring cellular immunity.

Rollier CS, Hill AV, Reyes-Sandoval A. 2016. Influence of adenovirus and MVA vaccines on the breadth and hierarchy of T cell responses. Vaccine, 34 (38), pp. 4470-4474. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral-vectored vaccines are in clinical development for several infectious diseases where T-cell responses can mediate protection, and responses to sub-dominant epitopes is needed. Little is known about the influence of MVA or adenoviral vectors on the hierarchy of the dominant and sub-dominant T-cell epitopes. We investigated this aspect in mice using a malaria immunogen. Our results demonstrate that the T-cell hierarchy is influenced by the timing of analysis, rather than by the vector after a single immunization, with hierarchy changing over time. Repeated homologous immunization reduced the breadth of responses, while heterologous prime-boost induced the strongest response to the dominant epitope, albeit with only modest response to the sub-dominant epitopes.

Ewer KJ, Lambe T, Rollier CS, Spencer AJ, Hill AV, Dorrell L. 2016. Viral vectors as vaccine platforms: from immunogenicity to impact. Curr Opin Immunol, 41 pp. 47-54. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral vectors are the vaccine platform of choice for many pathogens that have thwarted efforts towards control using conventional vaccine approaches. Although the STEP trial encumbered development of recombinant human adenovirus vectors only a few years ago, replication-deficient simian adenoviruses have since emerged as a crucial component of clinically effective prime-boost regimens. The vectors discussed here elicit functionally relevant cellular and humoral immune responses, at extremes of age and in diverse populations. The recent Ebola virus outbreak highlighted the utility of viral vectored vaccines in facilitating a rapid response to public health emergencies. Meanwhile, technological advances in manufacturing to support scale-up of viral vectored vaccines have helped to consolidate their position as a leading approach to tackling 'old' and emerging infections.

Kenyan Bacteraemia Study Group, Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 (WTCCC2), Rautanen A, Pirinen M, Mills TC, Rockett KA, Strange A, Ndungu AW, Naranbhai V, Gilchrist JJ et al. 2016. Polymorphism in a lincRNA Associates with a Doubled Risk of Pneumococcal Bacteremia in Kenyan Children. Am J Hum Genet, 98 (6), pp. 1092-1100. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacteremia (bacterial bloodstream infection) is a major cause of illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa but little is known about the role of human genetics in susceptibility. We conducted a genome-wide association study of bacteremia susceptibility in more than 5,000 Kenyan children as part of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 (WTCCC2). Both the blood-culture-proven bacteremia case subjects and healthy infants as controls were recruited from Kilifi, on the east coast of Kenya. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacteremia in Kilifi and was thus the focus of this study. We identified an association between polymorphisms in a long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincRNA) gene (AC011288.2) and pneumococcal bacteremia and replicated the results in the same population (p combined = 1.69 × 10(-9); OR = 2.47, 95% CI = 1.84-3.31). The susceptibility allele is African specific, derived rather than ancestral, and occurs at low frequency (2.7% in control subjects and 6.4% in case subjects). Our further studies showed AC011288.2 expression only in neutrophils, a cell type that is known to play a major role in pneumococcal clearance. Identification of this novel association will further focus research on the role of lincRNAs in human infectious disease.

Ewer K, Rampling T, Venkatraman N, Bowyer G, Wright D, Lambe T, Imoukhuede EB, Payne R, Fehling SK, Strecker T et al. 2016. A Monovalent Chimpanzee Adenovirus Ebola Vaccine Boosted with MVA. N Engl J Med, 374 (17), pp. 1635-1646. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The West African outbreak of Ebola virus disease that peaked in 2014 has caused more than 11,000 deaths. The development of an effective Ebola vaccine is a priority for control of a future outbreak. METHODS: In this phase 1 study, we administered a single dose of the chimpanzee adenovirus 3 (ChAd3) vaccine encoding the surface glycoprotein of Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) to 60 healthy adult volunteers in Oxford, United Kingdom. The vaccine was administered in three dose levels--1×10(10) viral particles, 2.5×10(10) viral particles, and 5×10(10) viral particles--with 20 participants in each group. We then assessed the effect of adding a booster dose of a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) strain, encoding the same Ebola virus glycoprotein, in 30 of the 60 participants and evaluated a reduced prime-boost interval in another 16 participants. We also compared antibody responses to inactivated whole Ebola virus virions and neutralizing antibody activity with those observed in phase 1 studies of a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-based vaccine expressing a ZEBOV glycoprotein (rVSV-ZEBOV) to determine relative potency and assess durability. RESULTS: No safety concerns were identified at any of the dose levels studied. Four weeks after immunization with the ChAd3 vaccine, ZEBOV-specific antibody responses were similar to those induced by rVSV-ZEBOV vaccination, with a geometric mean titer of 752 and 921, respectively. ZEBOV neutralization activity was also similar with the two vaccines (geometric mean titer, 14.9 and 22.2, respectively). Boosting with the MVA vector increased virus-specific antibodies by a factor of 12 (geometric mean titer, 9007) and increased glycoprotein-specific CD8+ T cells by a factor of 5. Significant increases in neutralizing antibodies were seen after boosting in all 30 participants (geometric mean titer, 139; P<0.001). Virus-specific antibody responses in participants primed with ChAd3 remained positive 6 months after vaccination (geometric mean titer, 758) but were significantly higher in those who had received the MVA booster (geometric mean titer, 1750; P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The ChAd3 vaccine boosted with MVA elicited B-cell and T-cell immune responses to ZEBOV that were superior to those induced by the ChAd3 vaccine alone. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others; number, NCT02240875.).

Cappuccini F, Stribbling S, Pollock E, Hill AV, Redchenko I. 2016. Immunogenicity and efficacy of the novel cancer vaccine based on simian adenovirus and MVA vectors alone and in combination with PD-1 mAb in a mouse model of prostate cancer. Cancer Immunol Immunother, 65 (6), pp. 701-713. | Show Abstract | Read more

Prostate cancer possesses several characteristics that make it a suitable candidate for immunotherapy; however, prostate cancer vaccines to date demonstrate modest efficacy and low immunogenicity. The goal of the present pre-clinical study was to explore the immunogenic properties and protective efficacy of a novel prostate cancer immunotherapy based on the heterologous prime-boost viral-vectored vaccination platform. The simian adenovirus, ChAdOx1, and modified vaccinia Ankara virus, MVA, encoding a prostate cancer-associated antigen, the six transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate 1 (STEAP1), induced strong sustained antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in C57BL/6 and BALB/c male mice. Unexpectedly, the high vaccine immunogenicity translated into relatively low protective efficacy in the murine transplantable and spontaneous models of prostate cancer. A combination of the vaccine with PD-1 blocking antibody significantly improved survival of the animals, with 80 % of mice remaining tumour-free. These results indicate that the ChAdOx1-MVA vaccination regime targeting STEAP1 combined with PD-1 therapy might have high therapeutic potential in the clinic.

Dulal P, Wright D, Ashfield R, Hill AV, Charleston B, Warimwe GM. 2016. Potency of a thermostabilised chimpanzee adenovirus Rift Valley Fever vaccine in cattle. Vaccine, 34 (20), pp. 2296-2298. | Show Abstract | Read more

Development of safe and efficacious vaccines whose potency is unaffected by long-term storage at ambient temperature would obviate major vaccine deployment hurdles and limit wastage associated with breaks in the vaccine cold chain. Here, we evaluated the immunogenicity of a novel chimpanzee adenovirus vectored Rift Valley Fever vaccine (ChAdOx1-GnGc) in cattle, following its thermostabilisation by slow desiccation on glass fiber membranes in the non-reducing sugars trehalose and sucrose. Thermostabilised ChAdOx1-GnGc vaccine stored for 6 months at 25, 37 or 45 ° C elicited comparable Rift Valley Fever virus neutralising antibody titres to those elicited by the 'cold chain' vaccine (stored at -80 ° C throughout) at the same dose, and these were within the range associated with protection against Rift Valley Fever in cattle. The results support the use of sugar-membrane thermostabilised vaccines in target livestock species.

Davenport EE, Burnham KL, Radhakrishnan J, Humburg P, Hutton P, Mills TC, Rautanen A, Gordon AC, Garrard C, Hill AV et al. 2016. Genomic landscape of the individual host response and outcomes in sepsis: a prospective cohort study. Lancet Respir Med, 4 (4), pp. 259-271. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Effective targeted therapy for sepsis requires an understanding of the heterogeneity in the individual host response to infection. We investigated this heterogeneity by defining interindividual variation in the transcriptome of patients with sepsis and related this to outcome and genetic diversity. METHODS: We assayed peripheral blood leucocyte global gene expression for a prospective discovery cohort of 265 adult patients admitted to UK intensive care units with sepsis due to community-acquired pneumonia and evidence of organ dysfunction. We then validated our findings in a replication cohort consisting of a further 106 patients. We mapped genomic determinants of variation in gene transcription between patients as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL). FINDINGS: We discovered that following admission to intensive care, transcriptomic analysis of peripheral blood leucocytes defines two distinct sepsis response signatures (SRS1 and SRS2). The presence of SRS1 (detected in 108 [41%] patients in discovery cohort) identifies individuals with an immunosuppressed phenotype that included features of endotoxin tolerance, T-cell exhaustion, and downregulation of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class II. SRS1 was associated with higher 14 day mortality than was SRS2 (discovery cohort hazard ratio (HR) 2·4, 95% CI 1·3-4·5, p=0·005; validation cohort HR 2·8, 95% CI 1·5-5·1, p=0·0007). We found that a predictive set of seven genes enabled the classification of patients as SRS1 or SRS2. We identified cis-acting and trans-acting eQTL for key immune and metabolic response genes and sepsis response networks. Sepsis eQTL were enriched in endotoxin-induced epigenetic marks and modulated the individual host response to sepsis, including effects specific to SRS group. We identified regulatory genetic variants involving key mediators of gene networks implicated in the hypoxic response and the switch to glycolysis that occurs in sepsis, including HIF1α and mTOR, and mediators of endotoxin tolerance, T-cell activation, and viral defence. INTERPRETATION: Our integrated genomics approach advances understanding of heterogeneity in sepsis by defining subgroups of patients with different immune response states and prognoses, as well as revealing the role of underlying genetic variation. Our findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of sepsis and create opportunities for a precision medicine approach to enable targeted therapeutic intervention to improve sepsis outcomes. FUNDING: European Commission, Medical Research Council (UK), and the Wellcome Trust.

Payne RO, Milne KH, Elias SC, Edwards NJ, Douglas AD, Brown RE, Silk SE, Biswas S, Miura K, Roberts R et al. 2016. Demonstration of the Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparum Controlled Human Malaria Infection Model to Assess Efficacy of the P. falciparum Apical Membrane Antigen 1 Vaccine, FMP2.1/AS01. J Infect Dis, 213 (11), pp. 1743-1751. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Models of controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) initiated by mosquito bite have been widely used to assess efficacy of preerythrocytic vaccine candidates in small proof-of-concept phase 2a clinical trials. Efficacy testing of blood-stage malaria parasite vaccines, however, has generally relied on larger-scale phase 2b field trials in malaria-endemic populations. We report the use of a blood-stage P. falciparum CHMI model to assess blood-stage vaccine candidates, using their impact on the parasite multiplication rate (PMR) as the primary efficacy end point. METHODS: Fifteen healthy United Kingdom adult volunteers were vaccinated with FMP2.1, a protein vaccine that is based on the 3D7 clone sequence of apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) and formulated in Adjuvant System 01 (AS01). Twelve vaccinees and 15 infectivity controls subsequently underwent blood-stage CHMI. Parasitemia was monitored by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, and PMR was modeled from these data. RESULTS: FMP2.1/AS01 elicited anti-AMA1 T-cell and serum antibody responses. Analysis of purified immunoglobulin G showed functional growth inhibitory activity against P. falciparum in vitro. There were no vaccine- or CHMI-related safety concerns. All volunteers developed blood-stage parasitemia, with no impact of the vaccine on PMR. CONCLUSIONS: FMP2.1/AS01 demonstrated no efficacy after blood-stage CHMI. However, the model induced highly reproducible infection in all volunteers and will accelerate proof-of-concept testing of future blood-stage vaccine candidates. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT02044198.

Li Y, Leneghan DB, Miura K, Nikolaeva D, Brian IJ, Dicks MD, Fyfe AJ, Zakutansky SE, de Cassan S, Long CA et al. 2016. Enhancing immunogenicity and transmission-blocking activity of malaria vaccines by fusing Pfs25 to IMX313 multimerization technology. Sci Rep, 6 (1), pp. 18848. | Show Abstract | Read more

Transmission-blocking vaccines (TBV) target the sexual-stages of the malaria parasite in the mosquito midgut and are widely considered to be an essential tool for malaria elimination. High-titer functional antibodies are required against target antigens to achieve effective transmission-blocking activity. We have fused Pfs25, the leading malaria TBV candidate antigen to IMX313, a molecular adjuvant and expressed it both in ChAd63 and MVA viral vectors and as a secreted protein-nanoparticle. Pfs25-IMX313 expressed from viral vectors or as a protein-nanoparticle is significantly more immunogenic and gives significantly better transmission-reducing activity than monomeric Pfs25. In addition, we demonstrate that the Pfs25-IMX313 protein-nanoparticle leads to a qualitatively improved antibody response in comparison to soluble Pfs25, as well as to significantly higher germinal centre (GC) responses. These results demonstrate that antigen multimerization using IMX313 is a very promising strategy to enhance antibody responses against Pfs25, and that Pfs25-IMX313 is a highly promising TBV candidate vaccine.

Alharbi NK, Spencer AJ, Salman AM, Tully CM, Chinnakannan SK, Lambe T, Yamaguchi Y, Morris SJ, Orubu T, Draper SJ et al. 2016. Enhancing cellular immunogenicity of MVA-vectored vaccines by utilizing the F11L endogenous promoter. Vaccine, 34 (1), pp. 49-55. | Show Abstract | Read more

Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored vaccines against malaria, influenza, tuberculosis and recently Ebola virus are in clinical development. Although this vector is safe and immunogenic in humans, efforts remain on-going to enhance immunogenicity through various approaches such as using stronger promoters to boost transgene expression. We previously reported that endogenous MVA promoters such as pB8 and pF11 increased transgene expression and immunogenicity, as compared to the conventional p7.5 promoter. Here, we show that both promoters also rivalled the mH5 promoter in enhancing MVA immunogenicity. We investigated the mechanisms behind this improved immunogenicity and show that it was a result of strong early transgene expression in vivo, rather than in vitro as would normally be assessed. Moreover, keeping the TK gene intact resulted in a modest improvement in immunogenicity. Utilizing pB8 or pF11 as ectopic promoters at the TK locus instead of their natural loci also increased transgene expression and immunogenicity. In addition to a reporter antigen, the pF11 promoter was tested with the expression of two vaccine antigens for which cellular immunogenicity was significantly increased as compared to the p7.5 promoter. Our data support the use of the pF11 and pB8 promoters for improved immunogenicity in future MVA-vectored candidate vaccines.

Mensah VA, Gueye A, Ndiaye M, Edwards NJ, Wright D, Anagnostou NA, Syll M, Ndaw A, Abiola A, Bliss C et al. 2016. Safety, Immunogenicity and Efficacy of Prime-Boost Vaccination with ChAd63 and MVA Encoding ME-TRAP against Plasmodium falciparum Infection in Adults in Senegal. PLoS One, 11 (12), pp. e0167951. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria transmission is in decline in some parts of Africa, partly due to the scaling up of control measures. If the goal of elimination is to be achieved, additional control measures including an effective and durable vaccine will be required. Studies utilising the prime-boost approach to deliver viral vectors encoding the pre-erythrocytic antigen ME-TRAP (multiple epitope thrombospondin-related adhesion protein) have shown promising safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in sporozoite challenge studies. More recently, a study in Kenyan adults, similar to that reported here, showed substantial efficacy against P. falciparum infection. One hundred and twenty healthy male volunteers, living in a malaria endemic area of Senegal were randomised to receive either the Chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAd63) ME-TRAP as prime vaccination, followed eight weeks later by modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) also encoding ME-TRAP as booster, or two doses of anti-rabies vaccine as a comparator. Prior to follow-up, antimalarials were administered to clear parasitaemia and then participants were monitored by PCR for malaria infection for eight weeks. The primary endpoint was time-to-infection with P. falciparum malaria, determined by two consecutive positive PCR results. Secondary endpoints included adverse event reporting, measures of cellular and humoral immunogenicity and a meta-analysis of combined vaccine efficacy with the parallel study in Kenyan adults.We show that this pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine is safe and induces significant immunogenicity, with a peak T-cell response at seven days after boosting of 932 Spot Forming Cells (SFC)/106 Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells(PBMC) compared to 57 SFC/ 106 PBMCs in the control group. However, a vaccine efficacy was not observed: 12 of 57 ME-TRAP vaccinees became PCR positive during the intensive monitoring period as compared to 13 of the 58 controls (P = 0.80). This trial confirms that vaccine efficacy against malaria infection in adults may be rapidly assessed using this efficient and cost-effective clinical trial design. Further efficacy evaluation of this vectored candidate vaccine approach in other malaria transmission settings and age-de-escalation into the main target age groups for a malaria vaccine is in progress.

Swadling L, Halliday J, Kelly C, Brown A, Capone S, Ansari MA, Bonsall D, Richardson R, Hartnell F, Collier J et al. 2016. Highly-Immunogenic Virally-Vectored T-cell Vaccines Cannot Overcome Subversion of the T-cell Response by HCV during Chronic Infection. Vaccines (Basel), 4 (3), pp. 27-27. | Show Abstract | Read more

An effective therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, as an adjunct to newly developed directly-acting antivirals (DAA), or for the prevention of reinfection, would significantly reduce the global burden of disease associated with chronic HCV infection. A recombinant chimpanzee adenoviral (ChAd3) vector and a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), encoding the non-structural proteins of HCV (NSmut), used in a heterologous prime/boost regimen induced multi-specific, high-magnitude, durable HCV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in healthy volunteers, and was more immunogenic than a heterologous Ad regimen. We now assess the immunogenicity of this vaccine regimen in HCV infected patients (including patients with a low viral load suppressed with interferon/ribavirin therapy), determine T-cell cross-reactivity to endogenous virus, and compare immunogenicity with that observed previously in both healthy volunteers and in HCV infected patients vaccinated with the heterologous Ad regimen. Vaccination of HCV infected patients with ChAd3-NSmut/MVA-NSmut was well tolerated. Vaccine-induced HCV-specific T-cell responses were detected in 8/12 patients; however, CD4+ T-cell responses were rarely detected, and the overall magnitude of HCV-specific T-cell responses was markedly reduced when compared to vaccinated healthy volunteers. Furthermore, HCV-specific cells had a distinct partially-functional phenotype (lower expression of activation markers, granzyme B, and TNFα production, weaker in vitro proliferation, and higher Tim3 expression, with comparable Tbet and Eomes expression) compared to healthy volunteers. Robust anti-vector T-cells and antibodies were induced, showing that there is no global defect in immunity. The level of viremia at the time of vaccination did not correlate with the magnitude of the vaccine-induced T-cell response. Full-length, next-generation sequencing of the circulating virus demonstrated that T-cells were only induced by vaccination when there was a sequence mismatch between the autologous virus and the vaccine immunogen. However, these T-cells were not cross-reactive with the endogenous viral variant epitopes. Conversely, when there was complete homology between the immunogen and circulating virus at a given epitope T-cells were not induced. T-cell induction following vaccination had no significant impact on HCV viral load. In vitro T-cell culture experiments identified the presence of T-cells at baseline that could be expanded by vaccination; thus, HCV-specific T-cells may have been expanded from pre-existing low-level memory T-cell populations that had been exposed to HCV antigens during natural infection, explaining the partial T-cell dysfunction. In conclusion, vaccination with ChAd3-NSmut and MVA-NSmut prime/boost, a potent vaccine regimen previously optimized in healthy volunteers was unable to reconstitute HCV-specific T-cell immunity in HCV infected patients. This highlights the major challenge of overcoming T-cell exhaustion in the context of persistent antigen exposure.

Lambe T, Rampling T, Samuel D, Bowyer G, Ewer KJ, Venkatraman N, Edmans M, Dicks S, Hill AV, Tedder RS, Gilbert SC. 2016. Detection of Vaccine-Induced Antibodies to Ebola Virus in Oral Fluid. Open Forum Infect Dis, 3 (1), pp. ofw031. | Show Abstract | Read more

Blood sampling to assess production of antigen-specific antibodies after immunization is commonly performed, but it presents logistical difficulties for trials carried out during an infectious disease outbreak. In this study, we show that antibodies may be reliably detected in oral fluid collected in a minimally invasive manner without use of sharps. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT02240875.

Warimwe GM, Gesharisha J, Carr BV, Otieno S, Otingah K, Wright D, Charleston B, Okoth E, Elena LG, Lorenzo G et al. 2016. Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vaccine Provides Multispecies Protection against Rift Valley Fever. Sci Rep, 6 (1), pp. 20617. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) causes recurrent outbreaks of acute life-threatening human and livestock illness in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. No licensed vaccines are currently available for humans and those widely used in livestock have major safety concerns. A 'One Health' vaccine development approach, in which the same vaccine is co-developed for multiple susceptible species, is an attractive strategy for RVFV. Here, we utilized a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine platform with an established human and livestock safety profile, ChAdOx1, to develop a vaccine for use against RVFV in both livestock and humans. We show that single-dose immunization with ChAdOx1-GnGc vaccine, encoding RVFV envelope glycoproteins, elicits high-titre RVFV-neutralizing antibody and provides solid protection against RVFV challenge in the most susceptible natural target species of the virus-sheep, goats and cattle. In addition we demonstrate induction of RVFV-neutralizing antibody by ChAdOx1-GnGc vaccination in dromedary camels, further illustrating the potency of replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine platforms. Thus, ChAdOx1-GnGc warrants evaluation in human clinical trials and could potentially address the unmet human and livestock vaccine needs.

Naranbhai V, de Assis Rosa D, Werner L, Moodley R, Hong H, Kharsany A, Mlisana K, Sibeko S, Garrett N, Chopera D et al. 2016. Killer-cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptor (KIR) gene profiles modify HIV disease course, not HIV acquisition in South African women. BMC Infect Dis, 16 (1), pp. 27. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Killer-cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) interact with Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) to modify natural killer- and T-cell function. KIR are implicated in HIV acquisition by small studies that have not been widely replicated. A role for KIR in HIV disease progression is more widely replicated and supported by functional studies. METHODS: To assess the role of KIR and KIR ligands in HIV acquisition and disease course, we studied at-risk women in South Africa between 2004-2010. Logistic regression was used for nested case-control analysis of 154 women who acquired vs. 155 who did not acquire HIV, despite high exposure. Linear mixed-effects models were used for cohort analysis of 139 women followed prospectively for a median of 54 months (IQR 31-69) until 2014. RESULTS: Neither KIR repertoires nor HLA alleles were associated with HIV acquisition. However, KIR haplotype BB was associated with lower viral loads (-0.44 log10 copies/ml; SE = 0.18; p = 0.03) and higher CD4+ T-cell counts (+80 cells/μl; SE = 42; p = 0.04). This was largely explained by the protective effect of KIR2DL2/KIR2DS2 on the B haplotype and reciprocal detrimental effect of KIR2DL3 on the A haplotype. CONCLUSIONS: Although neither KIR nor HLA appear to have a role in HIV acquisition, our data are consistent with involvement of KIR2DL2 in HIV control. Additional studies to replicate these findings are indicated.

Tapia MD, Sow SO, Lyke KE, Haidara FC, Diallo F, Doumbia M, Traore A, Coulibaly F, Kodio M, Onwuchekwa U et al. 2016. Use of ChAd3-EBO-Z Ebola virus vaccine in Malian and US adults, and boosting of Malian adults with MVA-BN-Filo: a phase 1, single-blind, randomised trial, a phase 1b, open-label and double-blind, dose-escalation trial, and a nested, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (1), pp. 31-42. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The 2014 west African Zaire Ebola virus epidemic prompted worldwide partners to accelerate clinical development of replication-defective chimpanzee adenovirus 3 vector vaccine expressing Zaire Ebola virus glycoprotein (ChAd3-EBO-Z). We aimed to investigate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of ChAd3-EBO-Z in Malian and US adults, and assess the effect of boosting of Malians with modified vaccinia Ankara expressing Zaire Ebola virus glycoprotein and other filovirus antigens (MVA-BN-Filo). METHODS: In the phase 1, single-blind, randomised trial of ChAd3-EBO-Z in the USA, we recruited adults aged 18-65 years from the University of Maryland medical community and the Baltimore community. In the phase 1b, open-label and double-blind, dose-escalation trial of ChAd3-EBO-Z in Mali, we recruited adults 18-50 years of age from six hospitals and health centres in Bamako (Mali), some of whom were also eligible for a nested, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of MVA-BN-Filo. For randomised segments of the Malian trial and for the US trial, we randomly allocated participants (1:1; block size of six [Malian] or four [US]; ARB produced computer-generated randomisation lists; clinical staff did randomisation) to different single doses of intramuscular immunisation with ChAd3-EBO-Z: Malians received 1 × 10(10) viral particle units (pu), 2·5 × 10(10) pu, 5 × 10(10) pu, or 1 × 10(11) pu; US participants received 1 × 10(10) pu or 1 × 10(11) pu. We randomly allocated Malians in the nested trial (1:1) to receive a single dose of 2 × 10(8) plaque-forming units of MVA-BN-Filo or saline placebo. In the double-blind segments of the Malian trial, investigators, clinical staff, participants, and immunology laboratory staff were masked, but the study pharmacist (MK), vaccine administrator, and study statistician (ARB) were unmasked. In the US trial, investigators were not masked, but participants were. Analyses were per protocol. The primary outcome was safety, measured with occurrence of adverse events for 7 days after vaccination. Both trials are registered with, numbers NCT02231866 (US) and NCT02267109 (Malian). FINDINGS: Between Oct 8, 2014, and Feb 16, 2015, we randomly allocated 91 participants in Mali (ten [11%] to 1 × 10(10) pu, 35 [38%] to 2·5 × 10(10) pu, 35 [38%] to 5 × 10(10) pu, and 11 [12%] to 1 × 10(11) pu) and 20 in the USA (ten [50%] to 1 × 10(10) pu and ten [50%] to 1 × 10(11) pu), and boosted 52 Malians with MVA-BN-Filo (27 [52%]) or saline (25 [48%]). We identified no safety concerns with either vaccine: seven (8%) of 91 participants in Mali (five [5%] received 5 × 10(10) and two [2%] received 1 × 10(11) pu) and four (20%) of 20 in the USA (all received 1 × 10(11) pu) given ChAd3-EBO-Z had fever lasting for less than 24 h, and 15 (56%) of 27 Malians boosted with MVA-BN-Filo had injection-site pain or tenderness. INTERPRETATION: 1 × 10(11) pu single-dose ChAd3-EBO-Z could suffice for phase 3 efficacy trials of ring-vaccination containment needing short-term, high-level protection to interrupt transmission. MVA-BN-Filo boosting, although a complex regimen, could confer long-lived protection if needed (eg, for health-care workers). FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council UK, Department for International Development UK, National Cancer Institute, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Federal Funds from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Longley RJ, Halbroth BR, Ewer KJ, Hill AV, Spencer AJ. 2015. Identification of Immunodominant Responses to the Plasmodium falciparum Antigens PfUIS3, PfLSA1 and PfLSAP2 in Multiple Strains of Mice. PLoS One, 10 (12), pp. e0144515. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria, caused by the Plasmodium parasite, remains a serious global public health concern. A vaccine could have a substantial impact on eliminating this disease, alongside other preventative measures. We recently described the development of three novel, viral vectored vaccines expressing either of the antigens PfUIS3, PfLSA1 and PfLSAP2. Each vaccination regimen provided high levels of protection against chimeric parasite challenge in a mouse model, largely dependent on CD8+ T cells. In this study we aimed to further characterize the induced cellular immune response to these vaccines. We utilized both the IFNγ enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay and intracellular cytokine staining to achieve this aim. We identified immunodominant peptide responses for CD4+ and CD8+ T cells for each of the antigens in BALB/c, C57BL/6 and HLA-A2 transgenic mice, creating a useful tool for researchers for subsequent study of these antigens. We also compared these immunodominant peptides with those generated from epitope prediction software, and found that only a small proportion of the large number of epitopes predicted by the software were identifiable experimentally. Furthermore, we characterized the polyfunctionality of the induced CD8+ T cell responses. These findings contribute to our understanding of the immunological mechanisms underlying these protective vaccines, and provide a useful basis for the assessment of these and related vaccines as clinical constructs.

Ewer KJ, Sierra-Davidson K, Salman AM, Illingworth JJ, Draper SJ, Biswas S, Hill AV. 2015. Progress with viral vectored malaria vaccines: A multi-stage approach involving "unnatural immunity". Vaccine, 33 (52), pp. 7444-7451. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral vectors used in heterologous prime-boost regimens are one of very few vaccination approaches that have yielded significant protection against controlled human malaria infections. Recently, protection induced by chimpanzee adenovirus priming and modified vaccinia Ankara boosting using the ME-TRAP insert has been correlated with the induction of potent CD8(+) T cell responses. This regimen has progressed to field studies where efficacy against infection has now been reported. The same vectors have been used pre-clinically to identify preferred protective antigens for use in vaccines against the pre-erythrocytic, blood-stage and mosquito stages of malaria and this work is reviewed here for the first time. Such antigen screening has led to the prioritization of the PfRH5 blood-stage antigen, which showed efficacy against heterologous strain challenge in non-human primates, and vectors encoding this antigen are in clinical trials. This, along with the high transmission-blocking activity of some sexual-stage antigens, illustrates well the capacity of such vectors to induce high titre protective antibodies in addition to potent T cell responses. All of the protective responses induced by these vectors exceed the levels of the same immune responses induced by natural exposure supporting the view that, for subunit vaccines to achieve even partial efficacy in humans, "unnatural immunity" comprising immune responses of very high magnitude will need to be induced.

Walker AS, Lourenço J, Hill AV, Gupta S. 2015. Modeling Combinations of Pre-erythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Vaccines. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (6), pp. 1254-1259. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite substantial progress in the control of Plasmodium falciparum infection due to the widespread deployment of insecticide-treated bed nets and artemisinin combination therapies, malaria remains a prolific killer, with over half a million deaths estimated to have occurred in 2013 alone. Recent evidence of the development of resistance to treatments in both parasites and their mosquito vectors has underscored the need for a vaccine. Here, we use a mathematical model of the within-host dynamics of P. falciparum infection, fit to data from controlled human malaria infection clinical trials, to predict the efficacy of co-administering the two most promising subunit vaccines, RTS,S/AS01 and ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP. We conclude that currently available technologies could be combined to induce very high levels of sterile efficacy, even in immune-naive individuals.

Dicks MD, Spencer AJ, Coughlan L, Bauza K, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Cottingham MG. 2015. Differential immunogenicity between HAdV-5 and chimpanzee adenovirus vector ChAdOx1 is independent of fiber and penton RGD loop sequences in mice. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 16756. | Show Abstract | Read more

Replication defective adenoviruses are promising vectors for the delivery of vaccine antigens. However, the potential of a vector to elicit transgene-specific adaptive immune responses is largely dependent on the viral serotype used. HAdV-5 (Human adenovirus C) vectors are more immunogenic than chimpanzee adenovirus vectors from species Human adenovirus E (ChAdOx1 and AdC68) in mice, though the mechanisms responsible for these differences in immunogenicity remain poorly understood. In this study, superior immunogenicity was associated with markedly higher levels of transgene expression in vivo, particularly within draining lymph nodes. To investigate the viral factors contributing to these phenotypes, we generated recombinant ChAdOx1 vectors by exchanging components of the viral capsid reported to be principally involved in cell entry with the corresponding sequences from HAdV-5. Remarkably, pseudotyping with the HAdV-5 fiber and/or penton RGD loop had little to no effect on in vivo transgene expression or transgene-specific adaptive immune responses despite considerable species-specific sequence heterogeneity in these components. Our results suggest that mechanisms governing vector transduction after intramuscular administration in mice may be different from those described in vitro.

Kelly C, Swadling L, Capone S, Brown A, Richardson R, Halliday J, von Delft A, Oo Y, Mutimer D, Kurioka A et al. 2016. Chronic hepatitis C viral infection subverts vaccine-induced T-cell immunity in humans. Hepatology, 63 (5), pp. 1455-1470. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Adenoviral vectors encoding hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural (NS) proteins induce multispecific, high-magnitude, durable CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses in healthy volunteers. We assessed the capacity of these vaccines to induce functional HCV-specific immune responses and determine T-cell cross-reactivity to endogenous virus in patients with chronic HCV infection. HCV genotype 1-infected patients were vaccinated using heterologous adenoviral vectors (ChAd3-NSmut and Ad6-NSmut) encoding HCV NS proteins in a dose escalation, prime-boost regimen, with and without concomitant pegylated interferon-α/ribavirin therapy. Analysis of immune responses ex vivo used human leukocyte antigen class I pentamers, intracellular cytokine staining, and fine mapping in interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assays. Cross-reactivity of T cells with population and endogenous viral variants was determined following viral sequence analysis. Compared to healthy volunteers, the magnitude of HCV-specific T-cell responses following vaccination was markedly reduced. CD8(+) HCV-specific T-cell responses were detected in 15/24 patients at the highest dose, whereas CD4(+) T-cell responses were rarely detectable. Analysis of the host circulating viral sequence showed that T-cell responses were rarely elicited when there was sequence homology between vaccine immunogen and endogenous virus. In contrast, T cells were induced in the context of genetic mismatch between vaccine immunogen and endogenous virus; however, these commonly failed to recognize circulating epitope variants and had a distinct partially functional phenotype. Vaccination was well tolerated but had no significant effect on HCV viral load. CONCLUSION: Vaccination with potent HCV adenoviral vectored vaccines fails to restore T-cell immunity except where there is genetic mismatch between vaccine immunogen and endogenous virus; this highlights the major challenge of overcoming T-cell exhaustion in the context of persistent antigen exposure with implications for cancer and other persistent infections.

Longley RJ, Hill AV, Spencer AJ. 2015. Malaria vaccines: identifying Plasmodium falciparum liver-stage targets. Front Microbiol, 6 (SEP), pp. 965. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of a highly efficacious and durable vaccine for malaria remains a top priority for global health researchers. Despite the huge rise in recognition of malaria as a global health problem and the concurrent rise in funding over the past 10-15 years, malaria continues to remain a widespread burden. The evidence of increasing resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticides is a growing concern. Hence, an efficacious and durable preventative vaccine for malaria is urgently needed. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective tools and have successfully been used in the prevention and control of many diseases, however, the development of a vaccine for the Plasmodium parasite has proved difficult. Given the early success of whole sporozoite mosquito-bite delivered vaccination strategies, we know that a vaccine for malaria is an achievable goal, with sub-unit vaccines holding great promise as they are simple and cheap to both manufacture and deploy. However a major difficulty in development of sub-unit vaccines lies within choosing the appropriate antigenic target from the 5000 or so genes expressed by the parasite. Given the liver-stage of malaria represents a bottle-neck in the parasite's life cycle, there is widespread agreement that a multi-component sub-unit malaria vaccine should preferably contain a liver-stage target. In this article we review progress in identifying and screening Plasmodium falciparum liver-stage targets for use in a malaria vaccine.

Dunachie S, Berthoud T, Hill AV, Fletcher HA. 2015. Transcriptional changes induced by candidate malaria vaccines and correlation with protection against malaria in a human challenge model. Vaccine, 33 (40), pp. 5321-5331. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The complexity of immunity to malaria is well known, and clear correlates of protection against malaria have not been established. A better understanding of immune markers induced by candidate malaria vaccines would greatly enhance vaccine development, immunogenicity monitoring and estimation of vaccine efficacy in the field. We have previously reported complete or partial efficacy against experimental sporozoite challenge by several vaccine regimens in healthy malaria-naïve subjects in Oxford. These include a prime-boost regimen with RTS,S/AS02A and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing the CSP antigen, and a DNA-prime, MVA-boost regimen expressing the ME TRAP antigens. Using samples from these trials we performed transcriptional profiling, allowing a global assessment of responses to vaccination. METHODS: We used Human RefSeq8 Bead Chips from Illumina to examine gene expression using PBMC (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) from 16 human volunteers. To focus on antigen-specific changes, comparisons were made between PBMC stimulated with CSP or TRAP peptide pools and unstimulated PBMC post vaccination. We then correlated gene expression with protection against malaria in a human Plasmodium falciparum malaria challenge model. RESULTS: Differentially expressed genes induced by both vaccine regimens were predominantly in the IFN-γ pathway. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed antigen-specific effects on genes associated with IFN induction and proteasome modules after vaccination. Genes associated with IFN induction and antigen presentation modules were positively enriched in subjects with complete protection from malaria challenge, while genes associated with haemopoietic stem cells, regulatory monocytes and the myeloid lineage modules were negatively enriched in protected subjects. CONCLUSIONS: These results represent novel insights into the immune repertoires involved in malaria vaccination.

Dunachie S, Hill AV, Fletcher HA. 2015. Profiling the host response to malaria vaccination and malaria challenge. Vaccine, 33 (40), pp. 5316-5320. | Show Abstract | Read more

A vaccine for malaria is urgently required. The RTS,S vaccine represents major progress, but is only partially effective. Development of the next generation of highly effective vaccines requires elucidation of the protective immune response. Immunity to malaria is known to be complex, and pattern-based approaches such as global gene expression profiling are ideal for understanding response to vaccination and protection against disease. The availability of experimental sporozoite challenge in humans to test candidate malaria vaccines offers a precious opportunity unavailable for other current targets of vaccine research such as HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola. However, a limited number of transcriptional profiling studies in the context of malaria vaccine research have been published to date. This review outlines the background, existing studies, limits and opportunities for gene expression studies to accelerate malaria vaccine research.

Gilchrist JJ, MacLennan CA, Hill AV. 2015. Genetic susceptibility to invasive Salmonella disease. Nat Rev Immunol, 15 (7), pp. 452-463. | Show Abstract | Read more

Invasive Salmonella disease, in the form of enteric fever and invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease, causes substantial morbidity and mortality in children and adults in the developing world. The study of genetic variations in humans and mice that influence susceptibility of the host to Salmonella infection provides important insights into immunity to Salmonella. In this Review, we discuss data that have helped to elucidate the host genetic determinants of human enteric fever and iNTS disease, alongside data from the mouse model of Salmonella infection. Considered together, these studies provide a detailed picture of the immunobiology of human invasive Salmonella disease.

Naranbhai V, Fletcher HA, Tanner R, O'Shea MK, McShane H, Fairfax BP, Knight JC, Hill AV. 2015. Distinct Transcriptional and Anti-Mycobacterial Profiles of Peripheral Blood Monocytes Dependent on the Ratio of Monocytes: Lymphocytes. EBioMedicine, 2 (11), pp. 1619-1626. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ratio of monocytes and lymphocytes (ML ratio) in peripheral blood is associated with tuberculosis and malaria disease risk and cancer and cardiovascular disease outcomes. We studied anti-mycobacterial function and the transcriptome of monocytes in relation to the ML ratio. Mycobacterial growth inhibition assays of whole or sorted blood were performed and mycobacteria were enumerated by liquid culture. Transcriptomes of unstimulated CD14 + monocytes isolated by magnetic bead sorting were characterised by microarray. Transcript expression was tested for association with ML ratio calculated from leucocyte differential counts by linear regression. The ML ratio was associated with mycobacterial growth in vitro (β = 2.23, SE 0.91, p = 0.02). Using sorted monocytes and lymphocytes, in vivo ML ratio (% variance explained R(2) = 11%, p = 0.02) dominated over in vitro ratios (R(2) = 5%, p = 0.10) in explaining mycobacterial growth. Expression of 906 genes was associated with the ML ratio and 53 with monocyte count alone. ML-ratio associated genes were enriched for type-I and -II interferon signalling (p = 1.2 × 10(− 8)), and for genes under transcriptional control of IRF1, IRF2, RUNX1, RELA and ESRRB. The ML-ratio-associated gene set was enriched in TB disease (3.11-fold, 95% CI: 2.28-4.19, p = 5.7 × 10(− 12)) and other inflammatory diseases including atopy, HIV, IBD and SLE. The ML ratio is associated with distinct transcriptional and anti-mycobacterial profiles of monocytes that may explain the disease associations of the ML ratio.

Mentzer AJ, O'Connor D, Pollard AJ, Hill AV. 2015. Searching for the human genetic factors standing in the way of universally effective vaccines. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 370 (1671), pp. 20140341-20140341. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccines have revolutionized modern public health. The effectiveness of some vaccines is limited by the variation in response observed between individuals and across populations. There is compelling evidence that a significant proportion of this variability can be attributed to human genetic variation, especially for those vaccines administered in early life. Identifying and understanding the determinants of this variation could have a far-reaching influence upon future methods of vaccine design and deployment. In this review, we summarize the genetic studies that have been undertaken attempting to identify the genetic determinants of response heterogeneity for the vaccines against hepatitis B, measles and rubella. We offer a critical appraisal of these studies and make a series of suggestions about how modern genetic techniques, including genome-wide association studies, could be used to characterize the genetic architecture of vaccine response heterogeneity. We conclude by suggesting how the findings from such studies could be translated to improve vaccine effectiveness and target vaccination in a more cost-effective manner.

Darton TC, Blohmke CJ, Moorthy VS, Altmann DM, Hayden FG, Clutterbuck EA, Levine MM, Hill AV, Pollard AJ. 2015. Design, recruitment, and microbiological considerations in human challenge studies. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (7), pp. 840-851. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since the 18th century a wealth of knowledge regarding infectious disease pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment has been accumulated from findings of infection challenges in human beings. Partly because of improvements to ethical and regulatory guidance, human challenge studies-involving the deliberate exposure of participants to infectious substances-have had a resurgence in popularity in the past few years, in particular for the assessment of vaccines. To provide an overview of the potential use of challenge models, we present historical reports and contemporary views from experts in this type of research. A range of challenge models and practical approaches to generate important data exist and are used to expedite vaccine and therapeutic development and to support public health modelling and interventions. Although human challenge studies provide a unique opportunity to address complex research questions, participant and investigator safety is paramount. To increase the collaborative effort and future success of this area of research, we recommend the development of consensus frameworks and sharing of best practices between investigators. Furthermore, standardisation of challenge procedures and regulatory guidance will help with the feasibility for using challenge models in clinical testing of new disease intervention strategies.

Mills TC, Chapman S, Hutton P, Gordon AC, Bion J, Chiche JD, Holloway PA, Stüber F, Garrard CS, Hinds CJ et al. 2015. Variants in the Mannose-binding Lectin Gene MBL2 do not Associate With Sepsis Susceptibility or Survival in a Large European Cohort. Clin Infect Dis, 61 (5), pp. 695-703. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sepsis is an increasingly common condition, which continues to be associated with unacceptably high mortality. A large number of association studies have investigated susceptibility to, or mortality from, sepsis for variants in the functionally important immune-related gene MBL2. These studies have largely been underpowered and contradictory. METHODS: We genotyped and analyzed 4 important MBL2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; rs5030737, rs1800450, rs1800451, and rs7096206) in 1839 European community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and peritonitis sepsis cases, and 477 controls from the United Kingdom. We analyzed the following predefined subgroups and outcomes: 28-day and 6 month mortality from sepsis due to CAP or peritonitis combined, 28-day mortality from CAP sepsis, peritonitis sepsis, pneumococcal sepsis or sepsis in younger patients, and susceptibility to CAP sepsis or pneumococcal sepsis in the United Kingdom. RESULTS: There were no significant associations (all P-values were greater than .05 after correction for multiple testing) between MBL2 genotypes and any of our predefined analyses. CONCLUSIONS: In this large, well-defined cohort of immune competent adult patients, no associations between MBL2 genotype and sepsis susceptibility or outcome were identified.

Ogwang C, Kimani D, Edwards NJ, Roberts R, Mwacharo J, Bowyer G, Bliss C, Hodgson SH, Njuguna P, Viebig NK et al. 2015. Prime-boost vaccination with chimpanzee adenovirus and modified vaccinia Ankara encoding TRAP provides partial protection against Plasmodium falciparum infection in Kenyan adults. Sci Transl Med, 7 (286), pp. 286re5. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protective immunity to the liver stage of the malaria parasite can be conferred by vaccine-induced T cells, but no subunit vaccination approach based on cellular immunity has shown efficacy in field studies. We randomly allocated 121 healthy adult male volunteers in Kilifi, Kenya, to vaccination with the recombinant viral vectors chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), both encoding the malaria peptide sequence ME-TRAP (the multiple epitope string and thrombospondin-related adhesion protein), or to vaccination with rabies vaccine as a control. We gave antimalarials to clear parasitemia and conducted PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis on blood samples three times a week to identify infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. On Cox regression, vaccination reduced the risk of infection by 67% [95% confidence interval (CI), 33 to 83%; P = 0.002] during 8 weeks of monitoring. T cell responses to TRAP peptides 21 to 30 were significantly associated with protection (hazard ratio, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.75; P = 0.016).

Hodgson SH, Ewer KJ, Bliss CM, Edwards NJ, Rampling T, Anagnostou NA, de Barra E, Havelock T, Bowyer G, Poulton ID et al. 2015. Evaluation of the efficacy of ChAd63-MVA vectored vaccines expressing circumsporozoite protein and ME-TRAP against controlled human malaria infection in malaria-naive individuals. J Infect Dis, 211 (7), pp. 1076-1086. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Circumsporozoite protein (CS) is the antigenic target for RTS,S, the most advanced malaria vaccine to date. Heterologous prime-boost with the viral vectors simian adenovirus 63 (ChAd63)-modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is the most potent inducer of T-cells in humans, demonstrating significant efficacy when expressing the preerythrocytic antigen insert multiple epitope-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (ME-TRAP). We hypothesized that ChAd63-MVA containing CS may result in a significant clinical protective efficacy. METHODS: We conducted an open-label, 2-site, partially randomized Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) study to compare the clinical efficacy of ChAd63-MVA CS with ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP. RESULTS: One of 15 vaccinees (7%) receiving ChAd63-MVA CS and 2 of 15 (13%) receiving ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP achieved sterile protection after CHMI. Three of 15 vaccinees (20%) receiving ChAd63-MVA CS and 5 of 15 (33%) receiving ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP demonstrated a delay in time to treatment, compared with unvaccinated controls. In quantitative polymerase chain reaction analyses, ChAd63-MVA CS was estimated to reduce the liver parasite burden by 69%-79%, compared with 79%-84% for ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP. CONCLUSIONS: ChAd63-MVA CS does reduce the liver parasite burden, but ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP remains the most promising antigenic insert for a vectored liver-stage vaccine. Detailed analyses of parasite kinetics may allow detection of smaller but biologically important differences in vaccine efficacy that can influence future vaccine development. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01623557.

Pearson FE, O'Mahony C, Moore AC, Hill AV. 2015. Induction of CD8(+) T cell responses and protective efficacy following microneedle-mediated delivery of a live adenovirus-vectored malaria vaccine. Vaccine, 33 (28), pp. 3248-3255. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for improvements in vaccine delivery technologies. This is particularly pertinent for vaccination programmes within regions of limited resources, such as those required for adequate provision for disposal of used needles. Microneedles are micron-sized structures that penetrate the stratum corneum of the skin, creating temporary conduits for the needle-free delivery of drugs or vaccines. Here, we aimed to investigate immunity induced by the recombinant simian adenovirus-vectored vaccine ChAd63.ME-TRAP; currently undergoing clinical assessment as a candidate malaria vaccine, when delivered percutaneously by silicon microneedle arrays. In mice, we demonstrate that microneedle-mediated delivery of ChAd63.ME-TRAP induced similar numbers of transgene-specific CD8(+) T cells compared to intradermal (ID) administration with needle-and-syringe, following a single immunisation and after a ChAd63/MVA heterologous prime-boost schedule. When mice immunised with ChAd63/MVA were challenged with live Plasmodium berghei sporozoites, microneedle-mediated ChAd63.ME-TRAP priming demonstrated equivalent protective efficacy as did ID immunisation. Furthermore, responses following ChAd63/MVA immunisation correlated with a specific design parameter of the array used ('total array volume'). The level of transgene expression at the immunisation site and skin-draining lymph node (dLN) was also linked to total array volume. These findings have implications for defining silicon microneedle array design for use with live, vectored vaccines.

Tully CM, Lambe T, Gilbert SC, Hill AVS. 2015. Emergency Ebola response: A new approach to the rapid design and development of vaccines against emerging diseases The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 15 (3), pp. 356-359. | Read more

Gilchrist JJ, Mills TC, Naranbhai V, Chapman SJ, Fairfax BP, Knight JC, Williams TN, Scott JA, MacLennan CA, Rautanen A et al. 2015. Genetic variants associated with non-typhoidal Salmonella bacteraemia in African children. Lancet, 385 Suppl 1 pp. S13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) causes invasive and frequently fatal disease in African children. Existing strategies to prevent, diagnose, and treat NTS disease are inadequate. An improved understanding of the biology of invasive Salmonella infection will facilitate the development of novel NTS control measures. Despite evidence in mice and man showing a clear role for host genetics in NTS susceptibility, there are no published studies investigating host genetic susceptibility to NTS in African populations. METHODS: We conducted a genome-wide association study (SNP Array 6.0, Affymetrix, CA, USA) of NTS bacteraemia in Kenyan children, with replication in Malawian children. We assessed the function of NTS-associated variants in an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) dataset of interferon γ (IFNγ) and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes from 432 healthy European adults. Serum IFNγ (Bio-Plex immunoassay, Bio-Rad Laboratories, CA, USA) in Malawian NTS cases (n=106) during acute disease was correlated with genotype by linear regression. FINDINGS: After whole-genome imputation and quality control, 180 Kenyan cases and 2677 controls were included in an association analysis at 7 951 614 (additive model) and 4 669 537 (genotypic model) loci. After quality control, 143 Malawian cases and 336 controls were included in the replication analysis. An intronic variant in STAT4 was associated (recessive model) with NTS in both Kenyan and Malawian children (Kenya p=5·6 × 10(-9), Malawi p=0·02, combined p=1·4 × 10(-9); odds ratio 7·2, 95% CI 3·8-13·5). The NTS-associated variant was an eQTL for STAT4 expression in IFNγ-stimulated monocytes (p=9·59 × 10(-6)), the NTS risk allele being associated with lower STAT4 expression. In Malawian children with NTS bacteraemia, the same NTS risk allele was associated with lower serum concentrations of IFNγ (p=0·02) at presentation. INTERPRETATION: STAT4 is highly plausible as a susceptibility locus for invasive NTS disease. STAT4 mediates IFNγ release in T cells and natural killer cells in response to interleukin 12 (IL12). Individuals with rare mutations elsewhere in the IL12-IFNγ axis are at risk of disseminated NTS infection. We provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of a host genetic determinant of NTS disease in African children, and of a STAT4 variant conferring susceptibility to an infectious disease in man. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Walters AA, Krastev C, Hill AV, Milicic A. 2015. Next generation vaccines: single-dose encapsulated vaccines for improved global immunisation coverage and efficacy. J Pharm Pharmacol, 67 (3), pp. 400-408. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Vaccination is considered the most successful health intervention; yet incomplete immunisation coverage continues to risk outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases worldwide. Vaccination coverage improvement through a single-dose prime-boost technology would revolutionise modern vaccinology, impacting on disease prevalence, significantly benefiting health care and lowering economic burden of disease. KEY FINDINGS: Over the past 30 years, there have been efforts to develop a single-dose delayed release vaccine technology that could replace the repeated prime-boost immunisations required for many current vaccines. Biocompatible polymers have been employed to encapsulate model vaccines for delayed delivery in vivo, using either continuous or pulsed release. Biomaterial considerations, safety aspects, particle characteristics and immunological aspects of this approach are discussed in detail. SUMMARY: Despite many studies showing the feasibility of vaccine encapsulation for single-dose prime-boost administration, none have been translated into convincing utility in animal models or human trials. Further development of the encapsulation technology, through optimising the particle composition, formulation, antigen loading efficacy and stability, could lead to the application of this important approach in vaccine deployment. If successful, this would provide a solution to better global vaccination coverage through a reduction in the number of immunisations needed to achieve protection against infectious diseases. This review provides an overview of single-dose vaccination in the context of today's vaccine needs and is derived from a body of literature that has not been reviewed for over a decade.

Ellis MK, Elliott KS, Rautanen A, Crook DW, Hill AV, Chapman SJ. 2015. Rare variants in MYD88, IRAK4 and IKBKG and susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease: a population-based case-control study. PLoS One, 10 (4), pp. e0123532. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although rare variants within the Toll-like receptor signalling pathway genes have been found to underlie human primary immunodeficiencies associated with selective predisposition to invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), the contribution of variants in these genes to IPD susceptibility at the population level remains unknown. Complete re-sequencing of IRAK4, MYD88 and IKBKG genes was undertaken in 164 IPD cases from the UK and 164 geographically-matched population-based controls. 233 single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) were identified, of which ten were in coding regions. Four rare coding variants were predicted to be deleterious, two variants in MYD88 and two in IRAK4. The predicted deleterious variants in MYD88 were observed as two heterozygote cases but not seen in controls. Frequencies of predicted deleterious IRAK4 SNVs were the same in cases and controls. Our findings suggest that rare, functional variants in MYD88, IRAK4 or IKBKG do not significantly contribute to IPD susceptibility in adults at the population level.

Hodgson SH, Douglas AD, Edwards NJ, Kimani D, Elias SC, Chang M, Daza G, Seilie AM, Magiri C, Muia A et al. 2015. Increased sample volume and use of quantitative reverse-transcription PCR can improve prediction of liver-to-blood inoculum size in controlled human malaria infection studies. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 33. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies increasingly rely on nucleic acid test (NAT) methods to detect and quantify parasites in the blood of infected participants. The lower limits of detection and quantification vary amongst the assays used throughout the world, which may affect the ability of mathematical models to accurately estimate the liver-to-blood inoculum (LBI) values that are used to judge the efficacy of pre-erythrocytic vaccine and drug candidates. METHODS: Samples were collected around the time of onset of pre-patent parasitaemia from subjects who enrolled in two different CHMI clinical trials. Blood samples were tested for Plasmodium falciparum 18S rRNA and/or rDNA targets by different NAT methods and results were compared. Methods included an ultrasensitive, large volume modification of an established quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) assay that achieves detection of as little as one parasite/mL of whole blood. RESULTS: Large volume qRT-PCR at the University of Washington was the most sensitive test and generated quantifiable data more often than any other NAT methodology. Standard quantitative PCR (qPCR) performed at the University of Oxford and standard volume qRT-PCR performed at the University of Washington were less sensitive than the large volume qRT-PCR, especially at 6.5 days after CHMI. In these trials, the proportion of participants for whom LBI could be accurately quantified using parasite density value greater than or equal to the lower limit of quantification was increased. A greater improvement would be expected in trials in which numerous subjects receive a lower LBI or low dose challenge. CONCLUSIONS: Standard qPCR and qRT-PCR methods with analytical sensitivities of ~20 parasites/mL probably suffice for most CHMI purposes, but the newly developed large volume qRT-PCR may be able to answer specific questions when more analytical sensitivity is required.

Dicks MD, Guzman E, Spencer AJ, Gilbert SC, Charleston B, Hill AV, Cottingham MG. 2015. The relative magnitude of transgene-specific adaptive immune responses induced by human and chimpanzee adenovirus vectors differs between laboratory animals and a target species. Vaccine, 33 (9), pp. 1121-1128. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adenovirus vaccine vectors generated from new viral serotypes are routinely screened in pre-clinical laboratory animal models to identify the most immunogenic and efficacious candidates for further evaluation in clinical human and veterinary settings. Here, we show that studies in a laboratory species do not necessarily predict the hierarchy of vector performance in other mammals. In mice, after intramuscular immunization, HAdV-5 (Human adenovirus C) based vectors elicited cellular and humoral adaptive responses of higher magnitudes compared to the chimpanzee adenovirus vectors ChAdOx1 and AdC68 from species Human adenovirus E. After HAdV-5 vaccination, transgene specific IFN-γ(+) CD8(+) T cell responses reached peak magnitude later than after ChAdOx1 and AdC68 vaccination, and exhibited a slower contraction to a memory phenotype. In cattle, cellular and humoral immune responses were at least equivalent, if not higher, in magnitude after ChAdOx1 vaccination compared to HAdV-5. Though we have not tested protective efficacy in a disease model, these findings have important implications for the selection of candidate vectors for further evaluation. We propose that vaccines based on ChAdOx1 or other Human adenovirus E serotypes could be at least as immunogenic as current licensed bovine vaccines based on HAdV-5.

Viebig NK, D'Alessio F, Draper SJ, Sim BK, Mordmüller B, Bowyer PW, Luty AJ, Jungbluth S, Chitnis CE, Hill AV et al. 2015. Workshop report: Malaria vaccine development in Europe--preparing for the future. Vaccine, 33 (46), pp. 6137-6144. | Show Abstract | Read more

The deployment of a safe and effective malaria vaccine will be an important tool for the control of malaria and the reduction in malaria deaths. With the launch of the 2030 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap, the malaria community has updated the goals and priorities for the development of such a vaccine and is now paving the way for a second phase of malaria vaccine development. During a workshop in Brussels in November 2014, hosted by the European Vaccine Initiative, key players from the European, North American and African malaria vaccine community discussed European strategies for future malaria vaccine development in the global context. The recommendations of the European malaria community should guide researchers, policy makers and funders of global health research and development in fulfilling the ambitious goals set in the updated Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap.

Dunachie S, Berthoud T, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2015. Transcriptional changes induced by candidate malaria vaccines and correlation with protection against malaria in a human challenge model Vaccine, 33 (40), pp. 5321-5331. | Read more

Dunachie S, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2015. Profiling the host response to malaria vaccination and malaria challenge Vaccine, 33 (40), pp. 5316-5320. | Read more

Darton TC, Blohmke CJ, Moorthy VS, Altmann DM, Hayden FG, Clutterbuck EA, Levine MM, Hill AVS, Pollard AJ. 2015. Design, recruitment, and microbiological considerations in human challenge studies The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 15 (7), pp. 840-851. | Read more

Longley RJ, Salman AM, Cottingham MG, Ewer K, Janse CJ, Khan SM, Spencer AJ, Hill AV. 2015. Comparative assessment of vaccine vectors encoding ten malaria antigens identifies two protective liver-stage candidates. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 11820. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of an efficacious Plasmodium falciparum malaria vaccine remains a top priority for global health. Vaccination with irradiated sporozoites is able to provide complete sterile protection through the action of CD8(+) T cells at the liver-stage of infection. However, this method is currently unsuitable for large-scale deployment and focus has instead turned to the development of sub-unit vaccines. Sub-unit vaccine efforts have traditionally focused on two well-known pre-erythrocytic antigens, CSP and TRAP, yet thousands of genes are expressed in the liver-stage. We sought to assess the ability of eight alternative P. falciparum pre-erythrocytic antigens to induce a high proportion of CD8(+) T cells. We show that all antigens, when expressed individually in the non-replicating viral vectors ChAd63 and MVA, are capable of inducing an immune response in mice. Furthermore, we also developed chimeric P. berghei parasites expressing the cognate P. falciparum antigen to enable assessment of efficacy in mice. Our preliminary results indicate that vectors encoding either PfLSA1 or PfLSAP2 are capable of inducing sterile protection dependent on the presence of CD8(+) T cells. This work has identified two promising P. falciparum liver-stage candidate antigens that will now undergo further testing in humans.

Naranbhai V, Fairfax BP, Makino S, Humburg P, Wong D, Ng E, Hill AV, Knight JC. 2015. Genomic modulators of gene expression in human neutrophils. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 7545. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neutrophils form the most abundant leukocyte subset and are central to many disease processes. Technical challenges in transcriptomic profiling have prohibited genomic approaches to date. Here we map expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in peripheral blood CD16+ neutrophils from 101 healthy European adults. We identify cis-eQTL for 3281 neutrophil-expressed genes including many implicated in neutrophil function, with 450 of these not previously observed in myeloid or lymphoid cells. Paired comparison with monocyte eQTL demonstrates nuanced conditioning of genetic regulation of gene expression by cellular context, which relates to cell-type-specific DNA methylation and histone modifications. Neutrophil eQTL are markedly enriched for trait-associated variants particularly autoimmune, allergy and infectious disease. We further demonstrate how eQTL in PADI4 and NOD2 delineate risk variant function in rheumatoid arthritis, leprosy and Crohn's disease. Taken together, these data help advance understanding of the genetics of gene expression, neutrophil biology and immune-related diseases.

Pearson FE, O'Mahony C, Moore AC, Hill AVS. 2015. Induction of CD8&lt;sup&gt;+&lt;/sup&gt; T cell responses and protective efficacy following microneedle-mediated delivery of a live adenovirus-vectored malaria vaccine Vaccine, 33 (28), pp. 3248-3255. | Read more

Alharbi NK, Spencer AJ, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2015. Deletion of Fifteen Open Reading Frames from Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Fails to Improve Immunogenicity. PLoS One, 10 (6), pp. e0128626. | Show Abstract | Read more

Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a highly attenuated strain of vaccinia virus, which has been used as a recombinant vaccine vector in many vaccine development programmes. The loss of many immunosuppressive and host-range genes resulted in a safe and immunogenic vaccine vector. However it still retains some immunomodulatory genes that may reduce MVA immunogenicity. Earlier reports demonstrated that the deletion of the A41L, B15R, C6L, or C12L open reading frames (ORFs) enhanced cellular immune responses in recombinant MVA (rMVA) by up to 2-fold. However, previously, we showed that deletion of the C12L, A44L, A46R, B7R, or B15R ORFs from rMVA, using MVA-BAC recombineering technology, did not enhance rMVA immunogenicity at either peak or memory cellular immune responses. Here, we extend our previous study to examine the effect of deleting clusters of genes on rMVA cellular immunogenicity. Two clusters of fifteen genes were deleted in one rMVA mutant that encodes either the 85A antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis or an immunodominant H2-Kd-restricted murine malaria epitope (pb9). The deletion mutants were tested in prime only or prime and boost vaccination regimens. The responses showed no improved peak or memory CD8+ T cell frequencies. Our results suggest that the reported small increases in MVA deletion mutants could not be replicated with different antigens, or epitopes. Therefore, the gene deletion strategy may not be taken as a generic approach for improving the immunogenicity of MVA-based vaccines, and should be carefully assessed for every individual recombinant antigen.

Kapulu MC, Da DF, Miura K, Li Y, Blagborough AM, Churcher TS, Nikolaeva D, Williams AR, Goodman AL, Sangare I et al. 2015. Comparative assessment of transmission-blocking vaccine candidates against Plasmodium falciparum. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 11193. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs) target the development of Plasmodium parasites within the mosquito, with the aim of preventing malaria transmission from one infected individual to another. Different vaccine platforms, mainly protein-in-adjuvant formulations delivering the leading candidate antigens, have been developed independently and have reported varied transmission-blocking activities (TBA). Here, recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus 63, ChAd63, and modified vaccinia virus Ankara, MVA, expressing AgAPN1, Pfs230-C, Pfs25, and Pfs48/45 were generated. Antibody responses primed individually against all antigens by ChAd63 immunization in BALB/c mice were boosted by the administration of MVA expressing the same antigen. These antibodies exhibited a hierarchy of inhibitory activity against the NF54 laboratory strain of P. falciparum in Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes using the standard membrane feeding assay (SMFA), with anti-Pfs230-C and anti-Pfs25 antibodies giving complete blockade. The observed rank order of inhibition was replicated against P. falciparum African field isolates in A. gambiae in direct membrane feeding assays (DMFA). TBA achieved was IgG concentration dependent. This study provides the first head-to-head comparative analysis of leading antigens using two different parasite sources in two different vector species, and can be used to guide selection of TBVs for future clinical development using the viral-vectored delivery platform.

Walker KM, Okitsu S, Porter DW, Duncan C, Amacker M, Pluschke G, Cavanagh DR, Hill AV, Todryk SM. 2015. Antibody and T-cell responses associated with experimental human malaria infection or vaccination show limited relationships. Immunology, 145 (1), pp. 71-81. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study examined specific antibody and T-cell responses associated with experimental malaria infection or malaria vaccination, in malaria-naive human volunteers within phase I/IIa vaccine trials, with a view to investigating inter-relationships between these types of response. Malaria infection was via five bites of Plasmodium falciparum-infected mosquitoes, with individuals reaching patent infection by 11-12 days, having harboured four or five blood-stage cycles before drug clearance. Infection elicited a robust antibody response against merozoite surface protein-119 , correlating with parasite load. Classical class switching was seen from an early IgM to an IgG1-dominant response of increasing affinity. Malaria-specific T-cell responses were detected in the form of interferon-γ and interleukin-4 (IL-4) ELIspot, but their magnitude did not correlate with the magnitude of antibody or its avidity, or with parasite load. Different individuals who were immunized with a virosome vaccine comprising influenza antigens combined with P. falciparum antigens, demonstrated pre-existing interferon-γ, IL-2 and IL-5 ELIspot responses against the influenza antigens, and showed boosting of anti-influenza T-cell responses only for IL-5. The large IgG1-dominated anti-parasite responses showed limited correlation with T-cell responses for magnitude or avidity, both parameters being only negatively correlated for IL-5 secretion versus anti-apical membrane antigen-1 antibody titres. Overall, these findings suggest that cognate T-cell responses across a range of magnitudes contribute towards driving potentially effective antibody responses in infection-induced and vaccine-induced immunity against malaria, and their existence during immunization is beneficial, but magnitudes are mostly not inter-related.

Longley RJ, Bauza K, Ewer KJ, Hill AV, Spencer AJ. 2015. Development of an in vitro assay and demonstration of Plasmodium berghei liver-stage inhibition by TRAP-specific CD8+ T cells. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0119880. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of an efficacious vaccine against the Plasmodium parasite remains a top priority. Previous research has demonstrated the ability of a prime-boost virally vectored sub-unit vaccination regimen, delivering the liver-stage expressed malaria antigen TRAP, to produce high levels of antigen-specific T cells. The liver-stage of malaria is the main target of T cell-mediated immunity, yet a major challenge in assessing new T cell inducing vaccines has been the lack of a suitable pre-clinical assay. We have developed a flow-cytometry based in vitro T cell killing assay using a mouse hepatoma cell line, Hepa1-6, and Plasmodium berghei GFP expressing sporozoites. Using this assay, P. berghei TRAP-specific CD8+ T cell enriched splenocytes were shown to inhibit liver-stage parasites in an effector-to-target ratio dependent manner. Further development of this assay using human hepatocytes and P. falciparum would provide a new method to pre-clinically screen vaccine candidates and to elucidate mechanisms of protection in vitro.




Rautanen A, Mills TC, Gordon AC, Hutton P, Steffens M, Nuamah R, Chiche JD, Parks T, Chapman SJ, Davenport EE et al. 2015. Genome-wide association study of survival from sepsis due to pneumonia: An observational cohort study The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 3 (1), pp. 53-60. | Read more

Tully CM, Lambe T, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2015. Emergency Ebola response: a new approach to the rapid design and development of vaccines against emerging diseases. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (3), pp. 356-359. | Show Abstract | Read more

The epidemic of Ebola virus disease has spread at an alarming rate despite containment efforts. As a result, unprecedented large-scale international response efforts have been made in an attempt to gain control of the outbreak and reduce transmission. Several international consortia have been formed in a remarkable worldwide collaborative effort to expedite trials of two candidate Ebola virus vaccines: cAd3-EBOZ and rVSV-EBOV. In parallel, both vaccines are being manufactured in large amounts to enable future rapid deployment for management of the crisis.

Rautanen A, Mills TC, Gordon AC, Hutton P, Steffens M, Nuamah R, Chiche JD, Parks T, Chapman SJ, Davenport EE et al. 2015. Genome-wide association study of survival from sepsis due to pneumonia: an observational cohort study. Lancet Respir Med, 3 (1), pp. 53-60. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sepsis continues to be a major cause of death, disability, and health-care expenditure worldwide. Despite evidence suggesting that host genetics can influence sepsis outcomes, no specific loci have yet been convincingly replicated. The aim of this study was to identify genetic variants that influence sepsis survival. METHODS: We did a genome-wide association study in three independent cohorts of white adult patients admitted to intensive care units with sepsis, severe sepsis, or septic shock (as defined by the International Consensus Criteria) due to pneumonia or intra-abdominal infection (cohorts 1-3, n=2534 patients). The primary outcome was 28 day survival. Results for the cohort of patients with sepsis due to pneumonia were combined in a meta-analysis of 1553 patients from all three cohorts, of whom 359 died within 28 days of admission to the intensive-care unit. The most significantly associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in a further 538 white patients with sepsis due to pneumonia (cohort 4), of whom 106 died. FINDINGS: In the genome-wide meta-analysis of three independent pneumonia cohorts (cohorts 1-3), common variants in the FER gene were strongly associated with survival (p=9·7 × 10(-8)). Further genotyping of the top associated SNP (rs4957796) in the additional cohort (cohort 4) resulted in a combined p value of 5·6 × 10(-8) (odds ratio 0·56, 95% CI 0·45-0·69). In a time-to-event analysis, each allele reduced the mortality over 28 days by 44% (hazard ratio for death 0·56, 95% CI 0·45-0·69; likelihood ratio test p=3·4 × 10(-9), after adjustment for age and stratification by cohort). Mortality was 9·5% in patients carrying the CC genotype, 15·2% in those carrying the TC genotype, and 25·3% in those carrying the TT genotype. No significant genetic associations were identified when patients with sepsis due to pneumonia and intra-abdominal infection were combined. INTERPRETATION: We have identified common variants in the FER gene that associate with a reduced risk of death from sepsis due to pneumonia. The FER gene and associated molecular pathways are potential novel targets for therapy or prevention and candidates for the development of biomarkers for risk stratification. FUNDING: European Commission and the Wellcome Trust.

Bliss CM, Spencer AJ, Salman AM, Longley RJ, Galan AR, Khan SM, Janse CJ, O'Shea MK, Hill AV, Ewer KJ. 2014. Development of an in vitro Plasmodium parasite killing assay for the evaluation of cell-mediated immune responses following vaccination with pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine candidates IMMUNOLOGY, 143 pp. 74-75.

Levine MM, Tapia M, Hill AV, Sow SO. 2015. How the current West African Ebola virus disease epidemic is altering views on the need for vaccines and is galvanizing a global effort to field-test leading candidate vaccines. J Infect Dis, 211 (4), pp. 504-507. | Read more

Nébié I, Edwards NJ, Tiono AB, Ewer KJ, Sanou GS, Soulama I, Sanon S, Diarra A, Yaro JB, Kangoye D et al. 2014. Correction for nébié et Al., assessment of chimpanzee adenovirus serotype 63 neutralizing antibodies prior to evaluation of a candidate malaria vaccine regimen based on viral vectors. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 21 (9), pp. 1376. | Read more

Hodgson SH, Choudhary P, Elias SC, Milne KH, Rampling TW, Biswas S, Poulton ID, Miura K, Douglas AD, Alanine DG et al. 2014. Combining viral vectored and protein-in-adjuvant vaccines against the blood-stage malaria antigen AMA1: report on a phase 1a clinical trial. Mol Ther, 22 (12), pp. 2142-2154. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of effective vaccines against difficult disease targets will require the identification of new subunit vaccination strategies that can induce and maintain effective immune responses in humans. Here we report on a phase 1a clinical trial using the AMA1 antigen from the blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite delivered either as recombinant protein formulated with Alhydrogel adjuvant with and without CPG 7909, or using recombinant vectored vaccines--chimpanzee adenovirus ChAd63 and the orthopoxvirus MVA. A variety of promising "mixed-modality" regimens were tested. All volunteers were primed with ChAd63, and then subsequently boosted with MVA and/or protein-in-adjuvant using either an 8- or 16-week prime-boost interval. We report on the safety of these regimens, as well as the T cell, B cell, and serum antibody responses. Notably, IgG antibody responses primed by ChAd63 were comparably boosted by AMA1 protein vaccine, irrespective of whether CPG 7909 was included in the Alhydrogel adjuvant. The ability to improve the potency of a relatively weak aluminium-based adjuvant in humans, by previously priming with an adenoviral vaccine vector encoding the same antigen, thus offers a novel vaccination strategy for difficult or neglected disease targets when access to more potent adjuvants is not possible.

Naranbhai V, Kim S, Fletcher H, Cotton MF, Violari A, Mitchell C, Nachman S, McSherry G, McShane H, Hill AV, Madhi SA. 2014. The association between the ratio of monocytes:lymphocytes at age 3 months and risk of tuberculosis (TB) in the first two years of life. BMC Med, 12 (1), pp. 120. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Recent transcriptomic studies revived a hypothesis suggested by historical studies in rabbits that the ratio of peripheral blood monocytes to lymphocytes (ML) is associated with risk of tuberculosis (TB) disease. Recent data confirmed the hypothesis in cattle and in adults infected with HIV. METHODS: We tested this hypothesis in 1,336 infants (540 HIV-infected, 796 HIV-exposed, uninfected (HEU)) prospectively followed in a randomized controlled trial of isoniazid prophylaxis in Southern Africa, the IMPAACT P1041 study. We modeled the relationship between ML ratio at enrollment (91 to 120 days after birth) and TB disease or death in HIV-infected children and latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection, TB disease or death in HEU children within 96 weeks (with 12 week window) of randomization. Infants were followed-up prospectively and routinely assessed for MTB exposure and outcomes. Cox proportional hazards models allowing for non-linear associations were used; in all cases linear models were the most parsimonious. RESULTS: Increasing ML ratio at baseline was significantly associated with TB disease/death within two years (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.17 per unit increase in ML ratio; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 to 1.34; P = 0.03). Neither monocyte count nor lymphocyte counts alone were associated with TB disease. The association was not statistically dissimilar between HIV infected and HEU children. Baseline ML ratio was associated with composite endpoints of TB disease and death and/or TB infection. It was strongest when restricted to probable and definite TB disease (HR 1.50; 95% CI 1.19 to 1.89; P = 0.006). Therefore, per 0.1 unit increase in the ML ratio at three to four months of age, the hazard of probable or definite TB disease before two years was increased by roughly 4% (95% CI 1.7% to 6.6%). CONCLUSION: Elevated ML ratio at three- to four-months old is associated with increased hazards of TB disease before two years among children in Southern Africa. While significant, the modest effect size suggests that the ML ratio plays a modest role in predicting TB disease-free survival; its utility may, therefore, be limited to combination with existing tools to stratify TB risk, or to inform underlying pathophysiologic determinants of TB disease.

Kimani D, Jagne YJ, Cox M, Kimani E, Bliss CM, Gitau E, Ogwang C, Afolabi MO, Bowyer G, Collins KA et al. 2014. Translating the immunogenicity of prime-boost immunization with ChAd63 and MVA ME-TRAP from malaria naive to malaria-endemic populations. Mol Ther, 22 (11), pp. 1992-2003. | Show Abstract | Read more

To induce a deployable level of efficacy, a successful malaria vaccine would likely benefit from both potent cellular and humoral immunity. These requirements are met by a heterologous prime-boost immunization strategy employing a chimpanzee adenovirus vector followed by modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), both encoding the pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen ME-thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP), with high immunogenicity and significant efficacy in UK adults. We undertook two phase 1b open-label studies in adults in Kenya and The Gambia in areas of similar seasonal malaria transmission dynamics and have previously reported safety and basic immunogenicity data. We now report flow cytometry and additional interferon (IFN)-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) data characterizing pre-existing and induced cellular immunity as well as anti-TRAP IgG responses. T-cell responses induced by vaccination averaged 1,254 spot-forming cells (SFC) per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) across both trials and flow cytometry revealed cytokine production from both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells with the frequency of CD8(+) IFN-γ-secreting monofunctional T cells (previously shown to associate with vaccine efficacy) particularly high in Kenyan adults. Immunization with ChAd63 and MVA ME-TRAP induced strong cellular and humoral immune responses in adults living in two malaria-endemic regions of Africa. This prime-boost approach targeting the pre-erythrocytic stage of the malaria life-cycle is now being assessed for efficacy in a target population.

Colak E, Leslie A, Zausmer K, Khatamzas E, Kubarenko AV, Pichulik T, Klimosch SN, Mayer A, Siggs O, Hector A et al. 2014. RNA and imidazoquinolines are sensed by distinct TLR7/8 ectodomain sites resulting in functionally disparate signaling events. J Immunol, 192 (12), pp. 5963-5973. | Show Abstract | Read more

TLRs 7 and 8 are pattern recognition receptors controlling antiviral host defense or autoimmune diseases. Apart from foreign and host RNA, synthetic RNA oligoribonucleotides (ORN) or small molecules of the imidazoquinoline family activate TLR7 and 8 and are being developed as therapeutic agonists. The structure-function relationships for RNA ORN and imidazoquinoline sensing and consequent downstream signaling by human TLR7 and TLR8 are unknown. Proteome- and genome-wide analyses in primary human monocyte-derived dendritic cells here showed that TLR8 sensing of RNA ORN versus imidazoquinoline translates to ligand-specific differential phosphorylation and transcriptional events. In addition, TLR7 and 8 ectodomains were found to discriminate between RNA ORN and imidazoquinolines by overlapping and nonoverlapping recognition sites to which murine loss-of-function mutations and human naturally occurring hyporesponsive polymorphisms map. Our data suggest TLR7 and TLR8 can signal in two different "modes" depending on the class of ligand. Considering RNA ORN and imidazoquinolines have been regarded as functionally interchangeable, our study highlights important functional incongruities whose understanding will be important for developing TLR7 or 8 therapeutics with desirable effector and safety profiles for in vivo application.

O'Connor D, Moore CE, Snape MD, John T, Hill AVS, Pollard AJ. 2014. Exonic single nucleotide polymorphisms within TLR3 associated with infant responses to serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine Vaccine, 32 (27), pp. 3424-3430. | Read more

Nébié I, Edwards NJ, Tiono AB, Ewer KJ, Sanou GS, Soulama I, Sanon S, Diarra A, Yaro JB, Kangoye D et al. 2014. Assessment of chimpanzee adenovirus serotype 63 neutralizing antibodies prior to evaluation of a candidate malaria vaccine regimen based on viral vectors. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 21 (6), pp. 901-903. | Show Abstract | Read more

Prior to a chimpanzee adenovirus-based (ChAd63) malarial vaccine trial, sera were collected to assess ChAd63-specific neutralizing antibody titers in Banfora (Burkina Faso). The low neutralizing antibody titers reported in both adults and children (median titers, 139.1 and 35.0, respectively) are encouraging for the potential use of ChAd63 as a malarial vaccine vector.

O'Connor D, Moore CE, Snape MD, John T, Hill AV, Pollard AJ. 2014. Exonic single nucleotide polymorphisms within TLR3 associated with infant responses to serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Vaccine, 32 (27), pp. 3424-3430. | Show Abstract | Read more

The introduction of the serogroup C meningococcal (MenC) conjugate vaccination has successfully controlled the burden of disease associated with this serogroup in many countries. However, considerable inter-individual variation is observed in immune responses to MenC vaccine, and little is understood of the determinants of this variability. Previously, we reported an association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TLR3 and CD44 and the persistence of MenC vaccine immunity. Here we further examine polymorphisms within these two candidate genes and immune responses to MenC vaccine. MenC-specific IgG concentrations and serum bactericidal assay (SBA) titres were measured one month after a primary course of MenC vaccination in 318 human infants. Tagging SNPs (TagSNPs) within TLR3 and CD44 were genotyped and regional imputations carried out to screen these genes for variations associated with immunological responses to MenC vaccine. This study reports an association between an exonic variant (rs3775290, P=0.025) in TLR3 and MenC IgG concentrations, as well as an association between three SNPs in CD44 (rs3794109, P=0.021; rs3794110, P=0.022; rs112762, P=0.049) and MenC SBA titres. These data support our previous findings of an association between SNPs in TLR3 and CD44, and present novel findings implicating exonic variants in these genes with MenC vaccine responses.




Antrobus RD, Coughlan L, Berthoud TK, Dicks MD, Hill AVS, Lambe T, Gilbert SC. 2014. Clinical assessment of a novel recombinant simian adenovirus ChAdOx1 as a vectored vaccine expressing conserved influenza a antigens Molecular Therapy, 22 (3), pp. 668-674. | Read more




Borthwick N, Ahmed T, Ondondo B, Hayes P, Rose A, Ebrahimsa U, Hayton EJ, Black A, Bridgeman A, Rosario M et al. 2014. Vaccine-elicited human T cells recognizing conserved protein regions inhibit HIV-1 Molecular Therapy, 22 (2), pp. 464-475. | Read more

Naranbhai V, Moodley D, Chipato T, Stranix-Chibanda L, Nakabaiito C, Kamateeka M, Musoke P, Manji K, George K, Emel LM et al. 2014. The association between the ratio of monocytes: lymphocytes and risk of tuberculosis among HIV-infected postpartum women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 67 (5), pp. 573-575. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent human studies support historical animal studies that suggested an association between peripheral blood monocyte:lymphocyte (ML) ratio and tuberculosis (TB) disease. To evaluate generalizability of this finding, we modeled the association between peripartum ML ratio and incident TB disease within 18 months postpartum among 1202 HIV-infected women in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The ML ratio was associated with increased risk of TB disease independently to combination antiretroviral therapy, World Health Organization stage, or CD4 count (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval: 1.07 to 1.4, P = 0.003 per 0.1 unit increase in ML ratio).

Hodgson SH, Juma E, Salim A, Magiri C, Kimani D, Njenga D, Muia A, Cole AO, Ogwang C, Awuondo K et al. 2014. Evaluating controlled human malaria infection in Kenyan adults with varying degrees of prior exposure to Plasmodium falciparum using sporozoites administered by intramuscular injection. Front Microbiol, 5 (DEC), pp. 686. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies are a vital tool to accelerate vaccine and drug development. As CHMI trials are performed in a controlled environment, they allow unprecedented, detailed evaluation of parasite growth dynamics (PGD) and immunological responses. However, CHMI studies have not been routinely performed in malaria-endemic countries or used to investigate mechanisms of naturally-acquired immunity (NAI) to Plasmodium falciparum. METHODS: We conducted an open-label, randomized CHMI pilot-study using aseptic, cryopreserved P. falciparum sporozoites (PfSPZ Challenge) to evaluate safety, infectivity and PGD in Kenyan adults with low to moderate prior exposure to P. falciparum (Pan African Clinical Trial Registry: PACTR20121100033272). RESULTS: All participants developed blood-stage infection confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). However one volunteer (110) remained asymptomatic and blood-film negative until day 21 post-injection of PfSPZ Challenge. This volunteer had a reduced parasite multiplication rate (PMR) (1.3) in comparison to the other 27 volunteers (median 11.1). A significant correlation was seen between PMR and screening anti-schizont Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) OD (p = 0.044, R = -0.384) but not when volunteer 110 was excluded from the analysis (p = 0.112, R = -0.313). CONCLUSIONS: PfSPZ Challenge is safe and infectious in malaria-endemic populations and could be used to assess the efficacy of malaria vaccines and drugs in African populations. Whilst our findings are limited by sample size, our pilot study has demonstrated for the first time that NAI may impact on PMR post-CHMI in a detectable fashion, an important finding that should be evaluated in further CHMI studies.

de Barra E, Hodgson SH, Ewer KJ, Bliss CM, Hennigan K, Collins A, Berrie E, Lawrie AM, Gilbert SC, Nicosia A et al. 2014. A phase Ia study to assess the safety and immunogenicity of new malaria vaccine candidates ChAd63 CS administered alone and with MVA CS. PLoS One, 9 (12), pp. e115161. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) malaria remains a significant cause of mortality and morbidity throughout the world. Development of an effective vaccine would be a key intervention to reduce the considerable social and economic impact of malaria. METHODOLOGY: We conducted a Phase Ia, non-randomized, clinical trial in 24 healthy, malaria-naïve adults of the chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) replication-deficient viral vectored vaccines encoding the circumsporozoite protein (CS) of P. falciparum. RESULTS: ChAd63-MVA CS administered in a heterologous prime-boost regime was shown to be safe and immunogenic, inducing high-level T cell responses to CS. With a priming ChAd63 CS dose of 5×109 vp responses peaked at a mean of 1947 SFC/million PBMC (median 1524) measured by ELIspot 7 days after the MVA boost and showed a mixed CD4+/CD8+ phenotype. With a higher priming dose of ChAd63 CS dose 5×1010 vp T cell responses did not increase (mean 1659 SFC/million PBMC, median 1049). Serum IgG responses to CS were modest and peaked at day 14 post ChAd63 CS (median antibody concentration for all groups at day 14 of 1.3 µg/ml (range 0-11.9), but persisted throughout late follow-up (day 140 median antibody concentration groups 1B & 2B 0.9 µg/ml (range 0-4.7). CONCLUSIONS: ChAd63-MVA is a safe and highly immunogenic delivery platform for the CS antigen in humans which warrants efficacy testing. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01450280.

Biswas S, Choudhary P, Elias SC, Miura K, Milne KH, de Cassan SC, Collins KA, Halstead FD, Bliss CM, Ewer KJ et al. 2014. Assessment of humoral immune responses to blood-stage malaria antigens following ChAd63-MVA immunization, controlled human malaria infection and natural exposure. PLoS One, 9 (9), pp. e107903. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of protective vaccines against many difficult infectious pathogens will necessitate the induction of effective antibody responses. Here we assess humoral immune responses against two antigens from the blood-stage merozoite of the Plasmodium falciparum human malaria parasite--MSP1 and AMA1. These antigens were delivered to healthy malaria-naïve adult volunteers in Phase Ia clinical trials using recombinant replication-deficient viral vectors--ChAd63 to prime the immune response and MVA to boost. In subsequent Phase IIa clinical trials, immunized volunteers underwent controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) with P. falciparum to assess vaccine efficacy, whereby all but one volunteer developed low-density blood-stage parasitemia. Here we assess serum antibody responses against both the MSP1 and AMA1 antigens following i) ChAd63-MVA immunization, ii) immunization and CHMI, and iii) primary malaria exposure in the context of CHMI in unimmunized control volunteers. Responses were also assessed in a cohort of naturally-immune Kenyan adults to provide comparison with those induced by a lifetime of natural malaria exposure. Serum antibody responses against MSP1 and AMA1 were characterized in terms of i) total IgG responses before and after CHMI, ii) responses to allelic variants of MSP1 and AMA1, iii) functional growth inhibitory activity (GIA), iv) IgG avidity, and v) isotype responses (IgG1-4, IgA and IgM). These data provide the first in-depth assessment of the quality of adenovirus-MVA vaccine-induced antibody responses in humans, along with assessment of how these responses are modulated by subsequent low-density parasite exposure. Notable differences were observed in qualitative aspects of the human antibody responses against these malaria antigens depending on the means of their induction and/or exposure of the host to the malaria parasite. Given the continued clinical development of viral vectored vaccines for malaria and a range of other diseases targets, these data should help to guide further immuno-monitoring studies of vaccine-induced human antibody responses.

Carey JB, Vrdoljak A, O'Mahony C, Hill AV, Draper SJ, Moore AC. 2014. Microneedle-mediated immunization of an adenovirus-based malaria vaccine enhances antigen-specific antibody immunity and reduces anti-vector responses compared to the intradermal route. Sci Rep, 4 (1), pp. 6154. | Show Abstract | Read more

Substantial effort has been placed in developing efficacious recombinant attenuated adenovirus-based vaccines. However induction of immunity to the vector is a significant obstacle to its repeated use. Here we demonstrate that skin-based delivery of an adenovirus-based malaria vaccine, HAdV5-PyMSP1₄₂, to mice using silicon microneedles induces equivalent or enhanced antibody responses to the encoded antigen, however it results in decreased anti-vector responses, compared to intradermal delivery. Microneedle-mediated vaccine priming and resultant induction of low anti-vector antibody titres permitted repeated use of the same adenovirus vaccine vector. This resulted in significantly increased antigen-specific antibody responses in these mice compared to ID-treated mice. Boosting with a heterologous vaccine; MVA-PyMSP1₄₂ also resulted in significantly greater antibody responses in mice primed with HAdV5-PyMSP1₄₂ using MN compared to the ID route. The highest protection against blood-stage malaria challenge was observed when a heterologous route of immunization (MN/ID) was used. Therefore, microneedle-mediated immunization has potential to both overcome some of the logistic obstacles surrounding needle-and-syringe-based immunization as well as to facilitate the repeated use of the same adenovirus vaccine thereby potentially reducing manufacturing costs of multiple vaccines. This could have important benefits in the clinical ease of use of adenovirus-based immunization strategies.

Spencer AJ, Furze J, Honeycutt JD, Calvert A, Saurya S, Colloca S, Wyllie DH, Gilbert SC, Bregu M, Cottingham MG, Hill AV. 2014. 4-1BBL enhances CD8+ T cell responses induced by vectored vaccines in mice but fails to improve immunogenicity in rhesus macaques. PLoS One, 9 (8), pp. e105520. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cells play a central role in the immune response to many of the world's major infectious diseases. In this study we investigated the tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily costimulatory molecule, 4-1BBL (CD137L, TNFSF9), for its ability to increase T cell immunogenicity induced by a variety of recombinant vectored vaccines. To efficiently test this hypothesis, we assessed a number of promoters and developed a stable bi-cistronic vector expressing both the antigen and adjuvant. Co-expression of 4-1BBL, together with our model antigen TIP, was shown to increase the frequency of murine antigen-specific IFN-γ secreting CD8(+) T cells in three vector platforms examined. Enhancement of the response was not limited by co-expression with the antigen, as an increase in CD8(+) immunogenicity was also observed by co-administration of two vectors each expressing only the antigen or adjuvant. However, when this regimen was tested in non-human primates using a clinical malaria vaccine candidate, no adjuvant effect of 4-1BBL was observed limiting its potential use as a single adjuvant for translation into a clinical vaccine.

Spencer AJ, Cottingham MG, Jenks JA, Longley RJ, Capone S, Colloca S, Folgori A, Cortese R, Nicosia A, Bregu M, Hill AV. 2014. Enhanced vaccine-induced CD8+ T cell responses to malaria antigen ME-TRAP by fusion to MHC class ii invariant chain. PLoS One, 9 (6), pp. e100538. | Show Abstract | Read more

The orthodox role of the invariant chain (CD74; Ii) is in antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells, but enhanced CD8+ T cells responses have been reported after vaccination with vectored viral vaccines encoding a fusion of Ii to the antigen of interest. In this study we assessed whether fusion of the malarial antigen, ME-TRAP, to Ii could increase the vaccine-induced CD8+ T cell response. Following single or heterologous prime-boost vaccination of mice with a recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus vector, ChAd63, or recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), higher frequencies of antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were observed, with the largest increases observed following a ChAd63-MVA heterologous prime-boost regimen. Studies in non-human primates confirmed the ability of Ii-fusion to augment the T cell response, where a 4-fold increase was maintained up to 11 weeks after the MVA boost. Of the numerous different approaches explored to increase vectored vaccine induced immunogenicity over the years, fusion to the invariant chain showed a consistent enhancement in CD8+ T cell responses across different animal species and may therefore find application in the development of vaccines against human malaria and other diseases where high levels of cell-mediated immunity are required.

Murphy SC, Hermsen CC, Douglas AD, Edwards NJ, Petersen I, Fahle GA, Adams M, Berry AA, Billman ZP, Gilbert SC et al. 2014. External quality assurance of malaria nucleic acid testing for clinical trials and eradication surveillance. PLoS One, 9 (5), pp. e97398. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nucleic acid testing (NAT) for malaria parasites is an increasingly recommended diagnostic endpoint in clinical trials of vaccine and drug candidates and is also important in surveillance of malaria control and elimination efforts. A variety of reported NAT assays have been described, yet no formal external quality assurance (EQA) program provides validation for the assays in use. Here, we report results of an EQA exercise for malaria NAT assays. Among five centers conducting controlled human malaria infection trials, all centers achieved 100% specificity and demonstrated limits of detection consistent with each laboratory's pre-stated expectations. Quantitative bias of reported results compared to expected results was generally <0.5 log10 parasites/mL except for one laboratory where the EQA effort identified likely reasons for a general quantitative shift. The within-laboratory variation for all assays was low at <10% coefficient of variation across a range of parasite densities. Based on this study, we propose to create a Molecular Malaria Quality Assessment program that fulfills the need for EQA of malaria NAT assays worldwide.




Antrobus RD, Berthoud TK, Mullarkey CE, Hoschler K, Coughlan L, Zambon M, Hill AVS, Gilbert SC. 2014. Coadministration of seasonal influenza vaccine and MVA-NP+M1 simultaneously achieves potent humoral and cell-mediated responses Molecular Therapy, 22 (1), pp. 233-238. | Read more

Antrobus RD, Coughlan L, Berthoud TK, Dicks MD, Hill AV, Lambe T, Gilbert SC. 2014. Clinical assessment of a novel recombinant simian adenovirus ChAdOx1 as a vectored vaccine expressing conserved Influenza A antigens. Mol Ther, 22 (3), pp. 668-674. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adenoviruses are potent vectors for inducing and boosting cellular immunity to encoded recombinant antigens. However, the widespread seroprevalence of neutralizing antibodies to common human adenovirus serotypes limits their use. Simian adenoviruses do not suffer from the same drawbacks. We have constructed a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine expressing the conserved influenza antigens, nucleoprotein (NP), and matrix protein 1 (M1). Here, we report safety and T-cell immunogenicity following vaccination with this novel recombinant simian adenovirus, ChAdOx1 NP+M1, in a first in human dose-escalation study using a 3+3 study design, followed by boosting with modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing the same antigens in some volunteers. We demonstrate ChAdOx1 NP+M1 to be safe and immunogenic. ChAdOx1 is a promising vaccine vector that could be used to deliver vaccine antigens where strong cellular immune responses are required for protection.

Bauza K, Malinauskas T, Pfander C, Anar B, Jones EY, Billker O, Hill AV, Reyes-Sandoval A. 2014. Efficacy of a Plasmodium vivax malaria vaccine using ChAd63 and modified vaccinia Ankara expressing thrombospondin-related anonymous protein as assessed with transgenic Plasmodium berghei parasites. Infect Immun, 82 (3), pp. 1277-1286. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax is the world's most widely distributed malaria parasite and a potential cause of morbidity and mortality for approximately 2.85 billion people living mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Despite this dramatic burden, very few vaccines have been assessed in humans. The clinically relevant vectors modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and the chimpanzee adenovirus ChAd63 are promising delivery systems for malaria vaccines due to their safety profiles and proven ability to induce protective immune responses against Plasmodium falciparum thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) in clinical trials. Here, we describe the development of new recombinant ChAd63 and MVA vectors expressing P. vivax TRAP (PvTRAP) and show their ability to induce high antibody titers and T cell responses in mice. In addition, we report a novel way of assessing the efficacy of new candidate vaccines against P. vivax using a fully infectious transgenic Plasmodium berghei parasite expressing P. vivax TRAP to allow studies of vaccine efficacy and protective mechanisms in rodents. Using this model, we found that both CD8+ T cells and antibodies mediated protection against malaria using virus-vectored vaccines. Our data indicate that ChAd63 and MVA expressing PvTRAP are good preerythrocytic-stage vaccine candidates with potential for future clinical application.

Jaenisch T, Sakuntabhai A, Wilder-Smith A. 2013. Dengue Research Funded by the European Commission-Scientific Strategies of Three European Dengue Research Consortia PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7 (12), pp. e2320-e2320. | Read more

Warimwe GM, Lorenzo G, Lopez-Gil E, Reyes-Sandoval A, Cottingham MG, Spencer AJ, Collins KA, Dicks MD, Milicic A, Lall A et al. 2013. Immunogenicity and efficacy of a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored Rift Valley fever vaccine in mice. Virol J, 10 (1), pp. 349. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis that historically affects livestock production and human health in sub-Saharan Africa, though epizootics have also occurred in the Arabian Peninsula. Whilst an effective live-attenuated vaccine is available for livestock, there is currently no licensed human RVF vaccine. Replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAd) vectors are an ideal platform for development of a human RVF vaccine, given the low prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against them in the human population, and their excellent safety and immunogenicity profile in human clinical trials of vaccines against a wide range of pathogens. METHODS: Here, in BALB/c mice, we evaluated the immunogenicity and efficacy of a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector, ChAdOx1, encoding the RVF virus envelope glycoproteins, Gn and Gc, which are targets of virus neutralizing antibodies. The ChAdOx1-GnGc vaccine was assessed in comparison to a replication-deficient human adenovirus type 5 vector encoding Gn and Gc (HAdV5-GnGc), a strategy previously shown to confer protective immunity against RVF in mice. RESULTS: A single immunization with either of the vaccines conferred protection against RVF virus challenge eight weeks post-immunization. Both vaccines elicited RVF virus neutralizing antibody and a robust CD8+ T cell response. CONCLUSIONS: Together the results support further development of RVF vaccines based on replication-deficient adenovirus vectors, with ChAdOx1-GnGc being a potential candidate for use in future human clinical trials.

Elias SC, Choudhary P, de Cassan SC, Biswas S, Collins KA, Halstead FD, Bliss CM, Ewer KJ, Hodgson SH, Duncan CJ et al. 2014. Analysis of human B-cell responses following ChAd63-MVA MSP1 and AMA1 immunization and controlled malaria infection. Immunology, 141 (4), pp. 628-644. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acquisition of non-sterilizing natural immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been shown in low transmission areas following multiple exposures. However, conflicting data from endemic areas suggest that the parasite may interfere with the induction of effective B-cell responses. To date, the impact of blood-stage parasite exposure on antigen-specific B cells has not been reported following controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). Here we analysed human B-cell responses in a series of Phase I/IIa clinical trials, which include CHMI, using candidate virus-vectored vaccines encoding two blood-stage antigens: merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) and apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1). Previously vaccinated volunteers show boosting of pre-existing antigen-specific memory B-cell (mBC) responses following CHMI. In contrast, unvaccinated malaria-naive control volunteers developed an mBC response against MSP1 but not AMA1. Serum IgG correlated with the mBC response after booster vaccination but this relationship was less well maintained following CHMI. A significant reduction in peripheral MSP1-specific mBC was observed at the point of diagnosis of blood-stage infection. This was coincident with a reduction in peripheral blood B-cell subsets expressing CXCR3 and elevated serum levels of interferon-γ and CXCL9, suggesting migration away from the periphery. These CHMI data confirm that mBC and antibody responses can be induced and boosted by blood-stage parasite exposure, in support of epidemiological studies on low-level parasite exposure.

Ewer KJ, O'Hara GA, Duncan CJ, Collins KA, Sheehy SH, Reyes-Sandoval A, Goodman AL, Edwards NJ, Elias SC, Halstead FD et al. 2013. Protective CD8+ T-cell immunity to human malaria induced by chimpanzee adenovirus-MVA immunisation. Nat Commun, 4 pp. 2836. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells offers the prospect of immunization against many infectious diseases, but no subunit vaccine has induced CD8(+) T cells that correlate with efficacy in humans. Here we demonstrate that a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector followed by a modified vaccinia virus Ankara booster induces exceptionally high frequency T-cell responses (median >2400 SFC/10(6) peripheral blood mononuclear cells) to the liver-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria antigen ME-TRAP. It induces sterile protective efficacy against heterologous strain sporozoites in three vaccinees (3/14, 21%), and delays time to patency through substantial reduction of liver-stage parasite burden in five more (5/14, 36%), P=0.008 compared with controls. The frequency of monofunctional interferon-γ-producing CD8(+) T cells, but not antibodies, correlates with sterile protection and delay in time to patency (P(corrected)=0.005). Vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cells provide protection against human malaria, suggesting that a major limitation of previous vaccination approaches has been the insufficient magnitude of induced T cells.

Borthwick N, Ahmed T, Ondondo B, Hayes P, Rose A, Ebrahimsa U, Hayton EJ, Black A, Bridgeman A, Rosario M et al. 2014. Vaccine-elicited human T cells recognizing conserved protein regions inhibit HIV-1. Mol Ther, 22 (2), pp. 464-475. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus diversity and escape from immune responses are the biggest challenges to the development of an effective vaccine against HIV-1. We hypothesized that T-cell vaccines targeting the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most variants and bear fitness costs when mutated, will generate effectors that efficiently recognize and kill virus-infected cells early enough after transmission to potentially impact on HIV-1 replication and will do so more efficiently than whole protein-based T-cell vaccines. Here, we describe the first-ever administration of conserved immunogen vaccines vectored using prime-boost regimens of DNA, simian adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara to uninfected UK volunteers. The vaccine induced high levels of effector T cells that recognized virus-infected autologous CD4(+) cells and inhibited HIV-1 replication by up to 5.79 log10. The virus inhibition was mediated by both Gag- and Pol- specific effector CD8(+) T cells targeting epitopes that are typically subdominant in natural infection. These results provide proof of concept for using a vaccine to target T cells at conserved epitopes, showing that these T cells can control HIV-1 replication in vitro.

Naranbhai V, Hill AV, Abdool Karim SS, Naidoo K, Abdool Karim Q, Warimwe GM, McShane H, Fletcher H. 2014. Ratio of monocytes to lymphocytes in peripheral blood identifies adults at risk of incident tuberculosis among HIV-infected adults initiating antiretroviral therapy. J Infect Dis, 209 (4), pp. 500-509. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Eight decades ago, the ratio of monocytes to lymphocytes (hereafter, the "ML ratio") was noted to affect outcomes of mycobacterial infection in rabbits. Recent transcriptomic studies support a role for relative proportions of myeloid and lymphoid transcripts in tuberculosis outcomes. The ML ratio in peripheral blood is known to be governed by hematopoietic stem cells with distinct biases. METHODS: The predictive value of the baseline ML ratio was modeled in 2 prospective cohorts of HIV-infected adults starting cART in South Africa (primary cohort, 1862 participants; replication cohort, 345 participants). Incident tuberculosis was diagnosed with clinical, radiographic, and microbiologic methods per contemporary guidelines. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional hazards modeling were conducted. RESULTS: The incidence rate of tuberculosis differed significantly by baseline ML ratio: 32.61 (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.38-61.54), 16.36 (95% CI, 12.39-21.23), and 51.80 (95% CI, 23.10-101.71) per 1000 patient-years for ML ratios of less than the 5th percentile, between the 5th and 95th percentiles, and greater than the 95th percentile, respectively (P = .007). Neither monocyte counts nor lymphocyte counts alone were associated with tuberculosis. After adjustment for sex, World Health Organization human immunodeficiency virus disease stage, CD4(+) T-cell counts, and previous history of tuberculosis, hazards of disease were significantly higher for patients with ML ratios of less than the 5th percentile or greater than the 95th percentile (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.39-4.40; P = .002). CONCLUSIONS: The ML ratio may be a useful, readily available tool to stratify the risk of tuberculosis and suggests involvement of hematopoietic stem cell bias in tuberculosis pathogenesis.

Mills TC, Rautanen A, Elliott KS, Parks T, Naranbhai V, Ieven MM, Butler CC, Little P, Verheij T, Garrard CS et al. 2014. IFITM3 and susceptibility to respiratory viral infections in the community. J Infect Dis, 209 (7), pp. 1028-1031. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interferon-inducible transmembrane proteins 1, 2, and 3 (IFITM 1,2, and 3) are viral restriction factors that mediate cellular resistance to several viruses. We have genotyped a possible splice-site altering single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs12252) in the IFITM3 gene in 34 patients with H1N1 influenza and severe pneumonia, and >5000 individuals comprising patients with community-acquired mild lower respiratory tract infection and matched controls of Caucasian ancestry. We found evidence of an association between rs12252 rare allele homozygotes and susceptibility to mild influenza (in patients attending primary care) but could not confirm a previously reported association between this single-nucleotide polymorphism and susceptibility to severe H1N1 infection.

Warimwe GM, Fletcher HA, Olotu A, Agnandji ST, Hill AV, Marsh K, Bejon P. 2013. Peripheral blood monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio at study enrollment predicts efficacy of the RTS,S malaria vaccine: analysis of pooled phase II clinical trial data. BMC Med, 11 (1), pp. 184. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: RTS,S is the most advanced candidate malaria vaccine but it is only partially protective and the causes of inter-individual variation in efficacy are poorly understood. Here, we investigated whether peripheral blood monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratios (ML ratio), previously shown to correlate with clinical malaria risk, could account for differences in RTS,S efficacy among phase II trial participants in Africa. METHODS: Of 11 geographical sites where RTS,S has been evaluated, pre-vaccination ML ratios were only available for trial participants in Kilifi, Kenya (N = 421) and Lambarene, Gabon (N = 189). Using time to first clinical malaria episode as the primary endpoint we evaluated the effect of accounting for ML ratio on RTS,S vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria by Cox regression modeling. RESULTS: The unadjusted efficacy of RTS,S in this combined dataset was 47% (95% confidence interval (CI) 26% to 62%, P <0.001). However, RTS,S efficacy decreased with increasing ML ratio, ranging from 67% (95% CI 64% to 70%) at an ML ratio of 0.1 to 5% (95% CI -3% to 13%) at an ML ratio of 0.6. The statistical interaction between RTS,S vaccination and ML ratio was still evident after adjustment for covariates associated with clinical malaria risk in this dataset. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that stratification of study participants by ML ratio, easily measured from full differential blood counts before vaccination, might help identify children who are highly protected and those that are refractory to protection with the RTS,S vaccine. Identifying causes of low vaccine efficacy among individuals with high ML ratio could inform strategies to improve overall RTS,S vaccine efficacy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.Gov numbers NCT00380393 and NCT00436007.

Williams AR, Zakutansky SE, Miura K, Dicks MD, Churcher TS, Jewell KE, Vaughan AM, Turner AV, Kapulu MC, Michel K et al. 2013. Immunisation against a serine protease inhibitor reduces intensity of Plasmodium berghei infection in mosquitoes. Int J Parasitol, 43 (11), pp. 869-874. | Show Abstract | Read more

The mosquito innate immune response is able to clear the majority of Plasmodium parasites. This immune clearance is controlled by a number of regulatory molecules including serine protease inhibitors (serpins). To determine whether such molecules could represent a novel target for a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine, we vaccinated mice with Anopheles gambiae serpin-2. Antibodies against Anopheles gambiae serpin-2 significantly reduced the infection of a heterologous Anopheles species (Anopheles stephensi) by Plasmodium berghei, however this effect was not observed with Plasmodium falciparum. Therefore, this approach of targeting regulatory molecules of the mosquito immune system may represent a novel approach to transmission-blocking malaria vaccines.

Antrobus RD, Berthoud TK, Mullarkey CE, Hoschler K, Coughlan L, Zambon M, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2014. Coadministration of seasonal influenza vaccine and MVA-NP+M1 simultaneously achieves potent humoral and cell-mediated responses. Mol Ther, 22 (1), pp. 233-238. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current seasonal influenza vaccines have reduced immunogenicity and are of suboptimal efficacy in older adults. We have previously shown that the novel candidate vaccine MVA-NP+M1 is able to boost memory T cell responses in adults aged 50-85 years. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that viral vectored vaccines can act as adjuvants when coadministered with protein-based vaccines. We have conducted a phase I clinical trial to compare the coadministration of seasonal influenza vaccine and MVA-NP+M1 with seasonal influenza vaccine alone in adults aged 50 years and above. This combination of vaccines was safe and well tolerated. T cell responses to internal influenza proteins were boosted to significantly higher levels in the group receiving MVA-NP+M1 compared with the group receiving seasonal influenza vaccine alone. Rates of seroprotection and seroconversion against the three vaccine strains were similar in both groups; however, there was a significant increase in the geometric mean titer ratio for the H3N2 component of seasonal influenza vaccine in the coadministration group. While some vaccine combinations result in immune interference, the coadministration of MVA-NP+M1 alongside seasonal influenza vaccine is shown here to increase some influenza strain-specific antibody responses and boost memory T cells capable of recognizing a range of influenza A subtypes.

Sheehy SH, Spencer AJ, Douglas AD, Sim BK, Longley RJ, Edwards NJ, Poulton ID, Kimani D, Williams AR, Anagnostou NA et al. 2013. Optimising Controlled Human Malaria Infection Studies Using Cryopreserved P. falciparum Parasites Administered by Needle and Syringe. PLoS One, 8 (6), pp. e65960. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies have become a routine tool to evaluate efficacy of candidate anti-malarial drugs and vaccines. To date, CHMI trials have mostly been conducted using the bite of infected mosquitoes, restricting the number of trial sites that can perform CHMI studies. Aseptic, cryopreserved P. falciparum sporozoites (PfSPZ Challenge) provide a potentially more accurate, reproducible and practical alternative, allowing a known number of sporozoites to be administered simply by injection. METHODOLOGY: We sought to assess the infectivity of PfSPZ Challenge administered in different dosing regimens to malaria-naive healthy adults (n = 18). Six participants received 2,500 sporozoites intradermally (ID), six received 2,500 sporozoites intramuscularly (IM) and six received 25,000 sporozoites IM. FINDINGS: Five out of six participants receiving 2,500 sporozoites ID, 3/6 participants receiving 2,500 sporozoites IM and 6/6 participants receiving 25,000 sporozoites IM were successfully infected. The median time to diagnosis was 13.2, 17.8 and 12.7 days for 2,500 sporozoites ID, 2,500 sporozoites IM and 25,000 sporozoites IM respectively (Kaplan Meier method; p = 0.024 log rank test). CONCLUSIONS: 2,500 sporozoites ID and 25,000 sporozoites IM have similar infectivities. Given the dose response in infectivity seen with IM administration, further work should evaluate increasing doses of PfSPZ Challenge IM to identify a dosing regimen that reliably infects 100% of participants. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01465048.

Rowland R, O'Hara GA, Hamill M, Poulton ID, Donaldson H, Dinsmore L, James T, Barnes E, Klenerman P, Gilbert SC et al. 2013. Determining the validity of hospital laboratory reference intervals for healthy young adults participating in early clinical trials of candidate vaccines. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 9 (8), pp. 1741-1751. | Show Abstract | Read more

This was a retrospective study to determine the validity of institutional reference intervals for interpreting biochemistry and hematology results in healthy adults in the context of clinical trials of preventive vaccines. An example population of 974 healthy adults participating in clinical trials at the Jenner Institute, Oxford, UK, between 1999 and 2009 was studied. Methods for calculating the central 95% ranges and determining the coefficients of within person variation were demonstrated. Recommendations have been made as to how these data can be usefully applied to the interpretation of blood results in healthy adult subjects for the purposes of clinical trial inclusion decisions and post-vaccination safety monitoring.

van Diemen PM, Yamaguchi Y, Paterson GK, Rollier CS, Hill AV, Wyllie DH. 2013. Irradiated wild-type and Spa mutant Staphylococcus aureus induce anti-S. aureus immune responses in mice which do not protect against subsequent intravenous challenge. Pathog Dis, 68 (1), pp. 20-26. | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcus aureus remains an important human and animal pathogen. Its pathogenicity is determined in part by expression of the Spa-immune subversion protein, neutralising the activity of which provides partial protection in murine models, as does experimental infection with live S. aureus with Spa gene deletions followed by antibiotic-mediated cure in mice. Together, these data raise the question of whether Spa mutant S. aureus might represent a viable vaccine. Here, we find that gamma-irradiated S. aureus strains, both wild-type and null mutant of spa, are immunogenic in mice when administered intramuscularly, eliciting large amounts of anti-S. aureus antibodies, as judged by whole-cell immunoassay on fixed microorganisms. We used an intravenous challenge system to assess vaccine efficacy, the sensitivity of which was increased by studying renal bacterial concentrations in both kidneys. Despite this, protection from intravenous challenge was not observed (mean difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated mice 0.27 log(10) with 95% confidence interval -0.922 to 1.467). Surprisingly, antibody responses elicited against a panel of protective cell surface proteins were very low, indicating that most antibody induced is not protective. Additionally, these data suggest a limited role for irradiated wild-type or spa mutant S. aureus as vaccines.

Hafalla JC, Bauza K, Friesen J, Gonzalez-Aseguinolaza G, Hill AV, Matuschewski K. 2013. Identification of targets of CD8⁺ T cell responses to malaria liver stages by genome-wide epitope profiling. PLoS Pathog, 9 (5), pp. e1003303. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD8⁺ T cells mediate immunity against Plasmodium liver stages. However, the paucity of parasite-specific epitopes of CD8⁺ T cells has limited our current understanding of the mechanisms influencing the generation, maintenance and efficiency of these responses. To identify antigenic epitopes in a stringent murine malaria immunisation model, we performed a systematic profiling of H(2b)-restricted peptides predicted from genome-wide analysis. We describe the identification of Plasmodium berghei (Pb) sporozoite-specific gene 20 (S20)- and thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP)-derived peptides, termed PbS20₃₁₈ and PbTRAP₁₃₀ respectively, as targets of CD8⁺ T cells from C57BL/6 mice vaccinated by whole parasite strategies known to protect against sporozoite challenge. While both PbS20₃₁₈ and PbTRAP₁₃₀ elicit effector and effector memory phenotypes in both the spleens and livers of immunised mice, only PbTRAP₁₃₀-specific CD8⁺ T cells exhibit in vivo cytotoxicity. Moreover, PbTRAP₁₃₀-specific, but not PbS20₃₁₈-specific, CD8⁺ T cells significantly contribute to inhibition of parasite development. Prime/boost vaccination with PbTRAP demonstrates CD8⁺ T cell-dependent efficacy against sporozoite challenge. We conclude that PbTRAP is an immunodominant antigen during liver-stage infection. Together, our results underscore the presence of CD8⁺ T cells with divergent potencies against distinct Plasmodium liver-stage epitopes. Our identification of antigen-specific CD8⁺ T cells will allow interrogation of the development of immune responses against malaria liver stages.

Bowdish DM, Sakamoto K, Lack NA, Hill PC, Sirugo G, Newport MJ, Gordon S, Hill AV, Vannberg FO. 2013. Genetic variants of MARCO are associated with susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis in a Gambian population. BMC Med Genet, 14 (1), pp. 47. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The two major class A scavenger receptors are scavenger receptor A (SRA), which is constitutively expressed on most macrophage populations, and macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO), which is constitutively expressed on a more restricted subset of macrophages, (e.g. alveolar macrophages) but whose expression increases on most macrophages during the course of infection. Although the primary role of SRA appears to be clearance of modified host proteins and lipids, mice defective in expression of either MARCO or SRA are immunocompromised in multiple models of infection and in vitro assays, the scavenger receptors have been demonstrated to bind bacteria and to enhance pro-inflammatory signalling to many bacterial lung pathogens; however their importance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, is less clear. METHODS: To determine whether polymorphisms in either SRA or MARCO were associated with tuberculosis, a case-control study of was performed. DNA samples from newly-detected, smear-positive, pulmonary tuberculosis cases were collected from The Gambia. Controls for this study consisted of DNA from cord bloods obtained from routine births at local Gambian health clinics. Informed written consent was obtained from patients or their parents or guardians. Ethical approval was provided by the joint The Gambian Government/MRC Joint Ethics Committee. RESULTS: We studied the frequencies of 25 polymorphisms of MSR1 (SRA) and 22 in MARCO in individuals with tuberculosis (n=1284) and matched controls (n=1349). No SNPs within the gene encoding or within 1 kb of the promoter sequence of MSR1 were associated with either susceptibility or resistance to tuberculosis. Three SNPs in MARCO (rs4491733, Mantel-Haenszel 2x2 χ2 = 6.5, p = 0.001, rs12998782, Mantel-Haenszel 2x2 χ2 = 6.59, p = 0.001, rs13389814 Mantel-Haenszel 2x2 χ2 = 6.9, p = 0.0009) were associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis and one (rs7559955, Mantel-Haenszel 2x2 χ2 = 6.9, p = 0.0009) was associated with resistance to tuberculosis. CONCLUSIONS: These findings identify MARCO as a potentially important receptor in the host response to tuberculosis.

Goodman AL, Forbes EK, Williams AR, Douglas AD, de Cassan SC, Bauza K, Biswas S, Dicks MD, Llewellyn D, Moore AC et al. 2013. The utility of Plasmodium berghei as a rodent model for anti-merozoite malaria vaccine assessment. Sci Rep, 3 (1), pp. 1706. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rodent malaria species Plasmodium yoelii and P. chabaudi have been widely used to validate vaccine approaches targeting blood-stage merozoite antigens. However, increasing data suggest the P. berghei rodent malaria may be able to circumvent vaccine-induced anti-merozoite responses. Here we confirm a failure to protect against P. berghei, despite successful antibody induction against leading merozoite antigens using protein-in-adjuvant or viral vectored vaccine delivery. No subunit vaccine approach showed efficacy in mice following immunization and challenge with the wild-type P. berghei strains ANKA or NK65, or against a chimeric parasite line encoding a merozoite antigen from P. falciparum. Protection was not improved in knockout mice lacking the inhibitory Fc receptor CD32b, nor against a Δsmac P. berghei parasite line with a non-sequestering phenotype. An improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for protection, or failure of protection, against P. berghei merozoites could guide the development of an efficacious vaccine against P. falciparum.

Douglas AD, Edwards NJ, Duncan CJ, Thompson FM, Sheehy SH, O'Hara GA, Anagnostou N, Walther M, Webster DP, Dunachie SJ et al. 2013. Comparison of modeling methods to determine liver-to-blood inocula and parasite multiplication rates during controlled human malaria infection. J Infect Dis, 208 (2), pp. 340-345. | Show Abstract | Read more

Controlled human malaria infection is used to measure efficacy of candidate malaria vaccines before field studies are undertaken. Mathematical modeling using data from quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) parasitemia monitoring can discriminate between vaccine effects on the parasite's liver and blood stages. Uncertainty regarding the most appropriate modeling method hinders interpretation of such trials. We used qPCR data from 267 Plasmodium falciparum infections to compare linear, sine-wave, and normal-cumulative-density-function models. We find that the parameters estimated by these models are closely correlated, and their predictive accuracy for omitted data points was similar. We propose that future studies include the linear model.

Elias SC, Collins KA, Halstead FD, Choudhary P, Bliss CM, Ewer KJ, Sheehy SH, Duncan CJ, Biswas S, Hill AV, Draper SJ. 2013. Assessment of immune interference, antagonism, and diversion following human immunization with biallelic blood-stage malaria viral-vectored vaccines and controlled malaria infection. J Immunol, 190 (3), pp. 1135-1147. | Show Abstract | Read more

Overcoming antigenic variation is one of the major challenges in the development of an effective vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum, a causative agent of human malaria. Inclusion of multiple Ag variants in subunit vaccine candidates is one strategy that has aimed to overcome this problem for the leading blood-stage malaria vaccine targets, that is, merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) and apical membrane Ag 1 (AMA1). However, previous studies, utilizing malaria Ags, have concluded that inclusion of multiple allelic variants, encoding altered peptide ligands, in such a vaccine may be detrimental to both the priming and in vivo restimulation of Ag-experienced T cells. In this study, we analyze the T cell responses to two alleles of MSP1 and AMA1 induced by vaccination of malaria-naive adult volunteers with bivalent viral-vectored vaccine candidates. We show a significant bias to the 3D7/MAD20 allele compared with the Wellcome allele for the 33 kDa region of MSP1, but not for the 19 kDa fragment or the AMA1 Ag. Although this bias could be caused by "immune interference" at priming, the data do not support a significant role for "immune antagonism" during memory T cell restimulation, despite observation of the latter at a minimal epitope level in vitro. A lack of class I HLA epitopes in the Wellcome allele that are recognized by vaccinated volunteers may in fact contribute to the observed bias. We also show that controlled infection with 3D7 strain P. falciparum parasites neither boosts existing 3D7-specific T cell responses nor appears to "immune divert" cellular responses toward the Wellcome allele.

McDermid JM, Hennig BJ, van der Sande M, Hill AV, Whittle HC, Jaye A, Prentice AM. 2013. Host iron redistribution as a risk factor for incident tuberculosis in HIV infection: an 11-year retrospective cohort study. BMC Infect Dis, 13 (1), pp. 48. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Identifying people at higher risk of developing tuberculosis with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection may improve clinical management of co-infections. Iron influences tuberculosis (TB) pathogenesis, but understanding the exact mechanisms of how and timing of when iron is involved remains challenging since biological samples are rarely available from the disease susceptibility period due to the difficulty in predicting in who and when, if ever, TB will develop. The objective of this research was to determine how host iron status measured at HIV diagnosis and genotypes related to host iron metabolism were associated with incident TB. METHODS: Archived clinical data, plasma and DNA were analyzed from 1139 adult participants in a large HIV-1, HIV-2 and dual seroprevalent cohort based at the Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia. Incident pulmonary and/or extrapulmonary TB diagnoses a minimum of 28 days after HIV diagnosis were independently re-confirmed using available evidence (n=152). Multiple host iron status biomarkers, Haptoglobin and solute carrier family 11, member 1 (SLC11A1) genotypes were modeled to characterize how indicators of host iron metabolism were associated with TB susceptibility. RESULTS: Hemoglobin (incidence rate ratio, IRR=0.88, 95% CI=0.79-0.98), plasma transferrin (IRR=0.53, 0.33-0.84) and ferritin (IRR=1.26, 1.05-1.51) were significantly associated with TB after adjusting for TB susceptibility factors. While genotype associations were not statistically significant, SLC11A1 associations replicated similar directions as reported in HIV-seronegative meta-analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence of host iron redistribution at HIV diagnosis was associated with incident TB, and genetic influences on iron homeostasis may be involved. Low hemoglobin was associated with subsequent diagnosis of TB, but when considered in combination with additional iron status biomarkers, the collective findings point to a mechanism whereby anemia and iron redistribution are likely due to viral and/or bacteria-driven processes and the host immune response to infection. As a result, iron supplementation may not be efficacious or safe under these circumstances. Clinical and nutritional management of HIV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis co-infected individuals, especially in regions where food insecurity and malnutrition co-exist, may be further improved when the iron-related TB risk factors identified here are better understood and managed to favor host rather than pathogen outcomes.

Grossman SR, Andersen KG, Shlyakhter I, Tabrizi S, Winnicki S, Yen A, Park DJ, Griesemer D, Karlsson EK, Wong SH et al. 2013. Identifying recent adaptations in large-scale genomic data. Cell, 152 (4), pp. 703-713. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although several hundred regions of the human genome harbor signals of positive natural selection, few of the relevant adaptive traits and variants have been elucidated. Using full-genome sequence variation from the 1000 Genomes (1000G) Project and the composite of multiple signals (CMS) test, we investigated 412 candidate signals and leveraged functional annotation, protein structure modeling, epigenetics, and association studies to identify and extensively annotate candidate causal variants. The resulting catalog provides a tractable list for experimental follow-up; it includes 35 high-scoring nonsynonymous variants, 59 variants associated with expression levels of a nearby coding gene or lincRNA, and numerous variants associated with susceptibility to infectious disease and other phenotypes. We experimentally characterized one candidate nonsynonymous variant in Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) and show that it leads to altered NF-κB signaling in response to bacterial flagellin. PAPERFLICK:

Warimwe GM, Murungi LM, Kamuyu G, Nyangweso GM, Wambua J, Naranbhai V, Fletcher HA, Hill AV, Bejon P, Osier FH, Marsh K. 2013. The ratio of monocytes to lymphocytes in peripheral blood correlates with increased susceptibility to clinical malaria in Kenyan children. PLoS One, 8 (2), pp. e57320. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a major cause of illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa. Young children bear the brunt of the disease and though older children and adults suffer relatively fewer clinical attacks, they remain susceptible to asymptomatic P. falciparum infection. A better understanding of the host factors associated with immunity to clinical malaria and the ability to sustain asymptomatic P. falciparum infection will aid the development of improved strategies for disease prevention. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Here we investigate whether full differential blood counts can predict susceptibility to clinical malaria among Kenyan children sampled at five annual cross-sectional surveys. We find that the ratio of monocytes to lymphocytes, measured in peripheral blood at the time of survey, directly correlates with risk of clinical malaria during follow-up. This association is evident among children with asymptomatic P. falciparum infection at the time the cell counts are measured (Hazard ratio (HR)  =  2.7 (95% CI 1.42, 5.01, P  =  0.002) but not in those without detectable parasitaemia (HR  =  1.0 (95% CI 0.74, 1.42, P  =  0.9). CONCLUSIONS: We propose that the monocyte to lymphocyte ratio, which is easily derived from routine full differential blood counts, reflects an individual's capacity to mount an effective immune response to P. falciparum infection.




Boyd AC, Ruiz-Hernandez R, Peroval MY, Carson C, Balkissoon D, Staines K, Turner AV, Hill AVS, Gilbert SC, Butter C. 2013. Towards a universal vaccine for avian influenza: Protective efficacy of modified Vaccinia virus Ankara and Adenovirus vaccines expressing conserved influenza antigens in chickens challenged with low pathogenic avian influenza virus Vaccine, 31 (4), pp. 670-675. | Read more

Pearson FE, McNeilly CL, Crichton ML, Primiero CA, Yukiko SR, Fernando GJ, Chen X, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Kendall MA. 2013. Dry-coated live viral vector vaccines delivered by nanopatch microprojections retain long-term thermostability and induce transgene-specific T cell responses in mice. PLoS One, 8 (7), pp. e67888. | Show Abstract | Read more

The disadvantages of needle-based immunisation motivate the development of simple, low cost, needle-free alternatives. Vaccine delivery to cutaneous environments rich in specialised antigen-presenting cells using microprojection patches has practical and immunological advantages over conventional needle delivery. Additionally, stable coating of vaccine onto microprojections removes logistical obstacles presented by the strict requirement for cold-chain storage and distribution of liquid vaccine, or lyophilised vaccine plus diluent. These attributes make these technologies particularly suitable for delivery of vaccines against diseases such as malaria, which exerts its worst effects in countries with poorly-resourced healthcare systems. Live viral vectors including adenoviruses and poxviruses encoding exogenous antigens have shown significant clinical promise as vaccines, due to their ability to generate high numbers of antigen-specific T cells. Here, the simian adenovirus serotype 63 and the poxvirus modified vaccinia Ankara--two vectors under evaluation for the delivery of malaria antigens to humans--were formulated for coating onto Nanopatch microprojections and applied to murine skin. Co-formulation with the stabilising disaccharides trehalose and sucrose protected virions during the dry-coating process. Transgene-specific CD8(+) T cell responses following Nanopatch delivery of both vectors were similar to intradermal injection controls after a single immunisation (despite a much lower delivered dose), though MVA boosting of pre-primed responses with Nanopatch was found to be less effective than the ID route. Importantly, disaccharide-stabilised ChAd63 could be stored for 10 weeks at 37°C with less than 1 log10 loss of viability, and retained single-dose immunogenicity after storage. These data support the further development of microprojection patches for the deployment of live vaccines in hot climates.

Powell TJ, Peng Y, Berthoud TK, Blais ME, Lillie PJ, Hill AV, Rowland-Jones SL, McMichael AJ, Gilbert SC, Dong T. 2013. Examination of influenza specific T cell responses after influenza virus challenge in individuals vaccinated with MVA-NP+M1 vaccine. PLoS One, 8 (5), pp. e62778. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current influenza vaccines stimulate neutralising antibody to the haemagglutinin antigen but as there is antigenic drift in HA it is difficult to prepare a vaccine in advance against an emergent strain. A potential strategy is to induce CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells that recognize epitopes within internal proteins that are less subject to antigenic drift. Augmenting humoral responses to HA with T cell responses to more conserved antigens may result in a more broadly protective vaccine. In this study, we evaluate the quality of influenza specific T cell responses in a clinical trial using MVA-NP+M1 vaccination followed by influenza virus challenge. In vaccinated volunteers, the expression of Granzyme A, Perforin and CD57 on influenza HLA A*02 M158-66 antigen specific cells was higher than non-vaccinated volunteers before and after challenge despite a similar frequency of antigen specific cells. BCL2 expression was lower in vaccinated volunteers. These data indicate that antigen specific T cells are a useful additional measure for use in human vaccination or immunization studies.

Ogwang C, Afolabi M, Kimani D, Jagne YJ, Sheehy SH, Bliss CM, Duncan CJ, Collins KA, Garcia Knight MA, Kimani E et al. 2013. Safety and immunogenicity of heterologous prime-boost immunisation with Plasmodium falciparum malaria candidate vaccines, ChAd63 ME-TRAP and MVA ME-TRAP, in healthy Gambian and Kenyan adults. PLoS One, 8 (3), pp. e57726. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Heterologous prime boost immunization with chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and Modified vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) vectored vaccines is a strategy recently shown to be capable of inducing strong cell mediated responses against several antigens from the malaria parasite. ChAd63-MVA expressing the Plasmodium falciparum pre-erythrocytic antigen ME-TRAP (multiple epitope string with thrombospondin-related adhesion protein) is a leading malaria vaccine candidate, capable of inducing sterile protection in malaria naïve adults following controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). METHODOLOGY: We conducted two Phase Ib dose escalation clinical trials assessing the safety and immunogenicity of ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP in 46 healthy malaria exposed adults in two African countries with similar malaria transmission patterns. RESULTS: ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP was shown to be safe and immunogenic, inducing high-level T cell responses (median >1300 SFU/million PBMC). CONCLUSIONS: ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP is a safe and highly immunogenic vaccine regimen in adults with prior exposure to malaria. Further clinical trials to assess safety and immunogenicity in children and infants and protective efficacy in the field are now warranted. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PACTR2010020001771828 PACTR201008000221638 NCT01373879 NCT01373879 NCT01379430 NCT01379430.

Pollard AJ, Savulescu J, Oxford J, Hill AV, Levine MM, Lewis DJ, Read RC, Graham DY, Sun W, Openshaw P, Gordon SB. 2012. Human microbial challenge: the ultimate animal model. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (12), pp. 903-905. | Read more

Boyd AC, Ruiz-Hernandez R, Peroval MY, Carson C, Balkissoon D, Staines K, Turner AV, Hill AV, Gilbert SC, Butter C. 2013. Towards a universal vaccine for avian influenza: protective efficacy of modified Vaccinia virus Ankara and Adenovirus vaccines expressing conserved influenza antigens in chickens challenged with low pathogenic avian influenza virus. Vaccine, 31 (4), pp. 670-675. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current vaccines targeting surface proteins can drive antigenic variation resulting either in the emergence of more highly pathogenic viruses or of antigenically distinct viruses that escape control by vaccination and thereby persist in the host population. Influenza vaccines typically target the highly mutable surface proteins and do not provide protection against heterologous challenge. Vaccines which induce immune responses against conserved influenza epitopes may confer protection against heterologous challenge. We report here the results of vaccination with recombinant modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and Adenovirus (Ad) expressing a fusion construct of nucleoprotein and matrix protein (NP+M1). Prime and boost vaccination regimes were trialled in different ages of chicken and were found to be safe and immunogenic. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) ELISpot was used to assess the cellular immune response post secondary vaccination. In ovo Ad prime followed by a 4 week post hatch MVA boost was identified as the most immunogenic regime in one outbred and two inbred lines of chicken. Following vaccination, one inbred line (C15I) was challenged with low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H7N7 (A/Turkey/England/1977). Birds receiving a primary vaccination with Ad-NP+M1 and a secondary vaccination with MVA-NP+M1 exhibited reduced cloacal shedding as measured by plaque assay at 7 days post infection compared with birds vaccinated with recombinant viruses containing irrelevant antigen. This preliminary indication of efficacy demonstrates proof of concept in birds; induction of T cell responses in chickens by viral vectors containing internal influenza antigens may be a productive strategy for the development of vaccines to induce heterologous protection against influenza in poultry.

Rowland R, Pathan AA, Satti I, Poulton ID, Matsumiya MM, Whittaker M, Minassian AM, O'Hara GA, Hamill M, Scott JT et al. 2013. Safety and immunogenicity of an FP9-vectored candidate tuberculosis vaccine (FP85A), alone and with candidate vaccine MVA85A in BCG-vaccinated healthy adults: a phase I clinical trial. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 9 (1), pp. 50-62. | Show Abstract | Read more

The safety and immunogenicity of a new candidate tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, FP85A was evaluated alone and in heterologous prime-boost regimes with another candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A. This was an open label, non-controlled, non-randomized Phase I clinical trial. Healthy previously BCG-vaccinated adult subjects were enrolled sequentially into three groups and vaccinated with FP85A alone, or both FP85A and MVA85A, with a four week interval between vaccinations. Passive and active data on adverse events were collected. Immunogenicity was evaluated by Enzyme Linked Immunospot (ELISpot), flow cytometry and Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Most adverse events were mild and there were no vaccine-related serious adverse events. FP85A vaccination did not enhance antigen 85A-specific cellular immunity. When MVA85A vaccination was preceded by FP85A vaccination, cellular immune responses were lower compared with when MVA85A vaccination was the first immunisation. MVA85A vaccination, but not FP85A vaccination, induced anti-MVA IgG antibodies. Both MVA85A and FP85A vaccinations induced anti-FP9 IgG antibodies. In conclusion, FP85A vaccination was well tolerated but did not induce antigen-specific cellular immune responses. We hypothesize that FP85A induced anti-FP9 IgG antibodies with cross-reactivity for MVA85A, which may have mediated inhibition of the immune response to subsequent MVA85A. identification number: NCT00653770.

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Maller JB, McVean G, Byrnes J, Vukcevic D, Palin K, Su Z, Howson JM, Auton A, Myers S et al. 2012. Bayesian refinement of association signals for 14 loci in 3 common diseases. Nat Genet, 44 (12), pp. 1294-1301. | Show Abstract | Read more

To further investigate susceptibility loci identified by genome-wide association studies, we genotyped 5,500 SNPs across 14 associated regions in 8,000 samples from a control group and 3 diseases: type 2 diabetes (T2D), coronary artery disease (CAD) and Graves' disease. We defined, using Bayes theorem, credible sets of SNPs that were 95% likely, based on posterior probability, to contain the causal disease-associated SNPs. In 3 of the 14 regions, TCF7L2 (T2D), CTLA4 (Graves' disease) and CDKN2A-CDKN2B (T2D), much of the posterior probability rested on a single SNP, and, in 4 other regions (CDKN2A-CDKN2B (CAD) and CDKAL1, FTO and HHEX (T2D)), the 95% sets were small, thereby excluding most SNPs as potentially causal. Very few SNPs in our credible sets had annotated functions, illustrating the limitations in understanding the mechanisms underlying susceptibility to common diseases. Our results also show the value of more detailed mapping to target sequences for functional studies.

Sheehy SH, Duncan CJ, Elias SC, Choudhary P, Biswas S, Halstead FD, Collins KA, Edwards NJ, Douglas AD, Anagnostou NA et al. 2012. ChAd63-MVA-vectored blood-stage malaria vaccines targeting MSP1 and AMA1: assessment of efficacy against mosquito bite challenge in humans. Mol Ther, 20 (12), pp. 2355-2368. | Show Abstract | Read more

The induction of cellular immunity, in conjunction with antibodies, may be essential for vaccines to protect against blood-stage infection with the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We have shown that prime-boost delivery of P. falciparum blood-stage antigens by chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) followed by the attenuated orthopoxvirus MVA is safe and immunogenic in healthy adults. Here, we report on vaccine efficacy against controlled human malaria infection delivered by mosquito bites. The blood-stage malaria vaccines were administered alone, or together (MSP1+AMA1), or with a pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine candidate (MSP1+ME-TRAP). In this first human use of coadministered ChAd63-MVA regimes, we demonstrate immune interference whereby responses against merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) are dominant over apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) and ME-TRAP. We also show that induction of strong cellular immunity against MSP1 and AMA1 is safe, but does not impact on parasite growth rates in the blood. In a subset of vaccinated volunteers, a delay in time to diagnosis was observed and sterilizing protection was observed in one volunteer coimmunized with MSP1+AMA1-results consistent with vaccine-induced pre-erythrocytic, rather than blood-stage, immunity. These data call into question the utility of T cell-inducing blood-stage malaria vaccines and suggest that the focus should remain on high-titer antibody induction against susceptible antigen targets.

Parks T, Hill AV, Chapman SJ. 2012. The Perpetual Challenge of Infectious Diseases NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 367 (1), pp. 90-90. | Read more

Duncan CJ, Hill AV, Ellis RD. 2012. Can growth inhibition assays (GIA) predict blood-stage malaria vaccine efficacy? Hum Vaccin Immunother, 8 (6), pp. 706-714. | Show Abstract | Read more

An effective vaccine against P. falciparum malaria remains a global health priority. Blood-stage vaccines are an important component of this effort, with some indications of recent progress. However only a fraction of potential blood-stage antigens have been tested, highlighting a critical need for efficient down-selection strategies. Functional in vitro assays such as the growth/invasion inhibition assays (GIA) are widely used, but it is unclear whether GIA activity correlates with protection or predicts vaccine efficacy. While preliminary data in controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies indicate a possible association between in vitro and in vivo parasite growth rates, there have been conflicting results of immunoepidemiology studies, where associations with exposure rather than protection have been observed. In addition, GIA-interfering antibodies in vaccinated individuals from endemic regions may limit assay sensitivity in heavily malaria-exposed populations. More work is needed to establish the utility of GIA for blood-stage vaccine development.

Lillie PJ, Duncan CJ, Sheehy SH, Meyer J, O'Hara GA, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2012. Distinguishing malaria and influenza: early clinical features in controlled human experimental infection studies. Travel Med Infect Dis, 10 (4), pp. 192-196. | Show Abstract | Read more

During the H1N1 influenza pandemic (pH1N1/09) diagnostic algorithms were developed to guide antiviral provision. However febrile illnesses are notoriously difficult to distinguish clinically. Recent evidence highlights the importance of incorporating travel history into diagnostic algorithms to prevent the catastrophic misdiagnosis of life-threatening infections such as malaria. We applied retrospectively the UK pH1N1/09 case definition to a unique cohort of healthy adult volunteers exposed to Plasmodium falciparum malaria or influenza to assess the predictive value of this case definition, and to explore the distinguishing clinical features of early phase infection with these pathogens under experimental conditions. For influenza exposure the positive predictive value of the pH1N1/09 case definition was only 0.38 (95% CI: 0.06-0.60), with a negative predictive value of 0.27 (95% CI: 0.02-0.51). Interestingly, 8/11 symptomatic malaria-infected adults would have been inappropriately classified with influenza by the pH1N1/09 case definition, while 5/8 symptomatic influenza-exposed volunteers would have been classified without influenza (P = 0.18 Fisher's exact). Cough (P = 0.005) and nasal symptoms (P = 0.001) were the only clinical features that distinguished influenza-exposed from malaria-exposed volunteers. An open mind regarding the clinical cause of undifferentiated febrile illness, particularly in the absence of upper respiratory tract symptoms, remains important even during influenza pandemic settings. These data support incorporating travel history into pandemic algorithms.

Biswas S, Spencer AJ, Forbes EK, Gilbert SC, Holder AA, Hill AV, Draper SJ. 2012. Recombinant viral-vectored vaccines expressing Plasmodium chabaudi AS apical membrane antigen 1: mechanisms of vaccine-induced blood-stage protection. J Immunol, 188 (10), pp. 5041-5053. | Show Abstract | Read more

Apical membrane Ag 1 (AMA1) is one of the leading candidate Ags for inclusion in a subunit vaccine against blood-stage malaria. However, the efficacy of Ab-inducing recombinant AMA1 protein vaccines in phase IIa/b clinical trials remains disappointing. In this article, we describe the development of recombinant human adenovirus serotype 5 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara vectors encoding AMA1 from the Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi strain AS. These vectors, when used in a heterologous prime-boost regimen in BALB/c mice, are capable of inducing strong transgene-specific humoral and cellular immune responses. We show that this vaccination regimen is protective against a nonlethal P. chabaudi chabaudi strain AS blood-stage challenge, resulting in reduced peak parasitemias. The role of vaccine-induced, AMA1-specific Abs and T cells in mediating the antiparasite effect was investigated by in vivo depletion of CD4(+) T cells and adoptive-transfer studies into naive and immunodeficient mice. Depletion of CD4(+) T cells led to a loss of vaccine-induced protection. Adoptive-transfer studies confirmed that efficacy is mediated by both CD4(+) T cells and Abs functioning in the context of an intact immune system. Unlike previous studies, these results confirm that Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells, induced by a clinically relevant vaccine-delivery platform, can make a significant contribution to vaccine blood-stage efficacy in the P. chabaudi model. Given that cell-mediated immunity may also contribute to parasite control in human malaria, these data support the clinical development of viral-vectored vaccines that induce both T cell and Abs against Plasmodium falciparum blood-stage malaria Ags like AMA1.

Lambe T, Spencer AJ, Mullarkey CE, Antrobus RD, Yu LM, de Whalley P, Thompson BA, Jones C, Chalk J, Kerridge S et al. 2012. T-cell responses in children to internal influenza antigens, 1 year after immunization with pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine, and response to revaccination with seasonal trivalent-inactivated influenza vaccine. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 31 (6), pp. e86-e91. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: During seasonal influenza epidemics, 5-15% of the population are affected with an illness having a nontrivial mortality, morbidity and economic burden. Inactivated influenza vaccines are routinely used to prevent influenza infection, primarily by inducing humoral immunity. In addition, trivalent-inactivated influenza vaccines have previously been shown to boost influenza-specific T-cell responses in a small percentage of adults. We investigate here the influenza-specific T-cell response, in children, 1 year after pandemic H1N1 vaccination and the ability to boost the T-cell response with trivalent-inactivated influenza immunization. METHODS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from children previously vaccinated with pandemic H1N1 vaccine, pre- and postseasonal 2010-2011 trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) vaccination. Samples were analyzed by interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot for reactogenicity toward internal influenza antigens (nucleoprotein, matrix protein 1 and nonstructural protein 1). RESULTS: Basal ex vivo T-cell responses to nucleoprotein, matrix protein 1 and nonstructural protein 1 measured by interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay were significantly higher in those children who had previously received an AS03B-adjuvanted split virion pandemic vaccine 12 months earlier rather than a nonadjuvanted whole virion vaccine. Boosting of these responses, 21 days after 2010/2011 seasonal TIV vaccination was observed regardless of age or prior pandemic vaccination regime, although boosting was greater in those groups with the lowest initial response. CONCLUSIONS: We show here that children previously vaccinated with the 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine have measurable T-cell responses 1 year after vaccination. The magnitudes of these responses are dependent on both age of vaccine and type of pandemic H1N1 vaccine used. After 2010/2011 seasonal TIV vaccination, these T-cell responses undergo a small but significant boost.

Lillie PJ, Berthoud TK, Powell TJ, Lambe T, Mullarkey C, Spencer AJ, Hamill M, Peng Y, Blais ME, Duncan CJ et al. 2012. Preliminary assessment of the efficacy of a T-cell-based influenza vaccine, MVA-NP+M1, in humans. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (1), pp. 19-25. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The novel influenza vaccine MVA-NP+M1 is designed to boost cross-reactive T-cell responses to internal antigens of the influenza A virus that are conserved across all subtypes, providing protection against both influenza disease and virus shedding against all influenza A viruses. Following a phase 1 clinical study that demonstrated vaccine safety and immunogenicity, a phase 2a vaccination and influenza challenge study has been conducted in healthy adult volunteers. METHODS: Volunteers with no measurable serum antibodies to influenza A/Wisconsin/67/2005 received either a single vaccination with MVA-NP+M1 or no vaccination. T-cell responses to the vaccine antigens were measured at enrollment and again prior to virus challenge. All volunteers underwent intranasal administration of influenza A/Wisconsin/67/2005 while in a quarantine unit and were monitored for symptoms of influenza disease and virus shedding. RESULTS: Volunteers had a significantly increased T-cell response to the vaccine antigens following a single dose of the vaccine, with an increase in cytolytic effector molecules. Intranasal influenza challenge was undertaken without safety issues. Two of 11 vaccinees and 5 of 11 control subjects developed laboratory-confirmed influenza (symptoms plus virus shedding). Symptoms of influenza were less pronounced in the vaccinees and there was a significant reduction in the number of days of virus shedding in those vaccinees who developed influenza (mean, 1.09 days in controls, 0.45 days in vaccinees, P = .036). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first demonstration of clinical efficacy of a T-cell-based influenza vaccine and indicates that further clinical development should be undertaken. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT00993083.

Hill AV. 2012. Evolution, revolution and heresy in the genetics of infectious disease susceptibility. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 367 (1590), pp. 840-849. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infectious pathogens have long been recognized as potentially powerful agents impacting on the evolution of human genetic diversity. Analysis of large-scale case-control studies provides one of the most direct means of identifying human genetic variants that currently impact on susceptibility to particular infectious diseases. For over 50 years candidate gene studies have been used to identify loci for many major causes of human infectious mortality, including malaria, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, bacterial pneumonia and hepatitis. But with the advent of genome-wide approaches, many new loci have been identified in diverse populations. Genome-wide linkage studies identified a few loci, but genome-wide association studies are proving more successful, and both exome and whole-genome sequencing now offer a revolutionary increase in power. Opinions differ on the extent to which the genetic component to common disease susceptibility is encoded by multiple high frequency or rare variants, and the heretical view that most infectious diseases might even be monogenic has been advocated recently. Review of findings to date suggests that the genetic architecture of infectious disease susceptibility may be importantly different from that of non-infectious diseases, and it is suggested that natural selection may be the driving force underlying this difference.

Cottingham MG, Carroll F, Morris SJ, Turner AV, Vaughan AM, Kapulu MC, Colloca S, Siani L, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2012. Preventing spontaneous genetic rearrangements in the transgene cassettes of adenovirus vectors. Biotechnol Bioeng, 109 (3), pp. 719-728. | Show Abstract | Read more

First-generation, E1/E3-deleted adenoviral vectors with diverse transgenes are produced routinely in laboratories worldwide for development of novel prophylactics and therapies for a variety of applications, including candidate vaccines against important infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Here, we show, for two different transgenes (both encoding malarial antigens) inserted at the E1 locus, that rare viruses containing a transgene-inactivating mutation exhibit a selective growth advantage during propagation in E1-complementing HEK293 cells, such that they rapidly become the major or sole species in the viral population. For one of these transgenes, we demonstrate that viral yield and cytopathic effect are enhanced by repression of transgene expression in the producer cell line, using the tetracycline repressor system. In addition to these transgene-inactivating mutations, one of which occurred during propagation of the pre-viral genomic clone in bacteria, and the other after viral reconstitution in HEK293 cells, we describe two other types of mutation, a small deletion and a gross rearranging duplication, in one of the transgenes studied. These were of uncertain origin, and the effects on transgene expression and viral growth were not fully characterized. We demonstrate that, together with minor protocol modifications, repression of transgene expression in HEK293 cells during viral propagation enables production of a genetically stable chimpanzee adenovirus vector expressing a malarial antigen which had previously been impossible to derive. These results have important implications for basic and pre-clinical studies using adenoviral vectors and for derivation of adenoviral vector products destined for large-scale amplification during biomanufacture.

Reyes-Sandoval A, Rollier CS, Milicic A, Bauza K, Cottingham MG, Tang CK, Dicks MD, Wang D, Longley RJ, Wyllie DH, Hill AV. 2012. Mixed vector immunization with recombinant adenovirus and MVA can improve vaccine efficacy while decreasing antivector immunity. Mol Ther, 20 (8), pp. 1633-1647. | Show Abstract | Read more

Substantial protection can be provided against the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria by vaccination first with an adenoviral and then with an modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) poxviral vector encoding the same ME.TRAP transgene. We investigated whether the two vaccine components adenovirus (Ad) and MVA could be coinjected as a mixture to enhance protection against malaria. A single-shot mixture at specific ratios of Ad and MVA (Ad+MVA) enhanced CD8(+) T cell-dependant protection of mice against challenge with Plasmodium berghei. Moreover, the degree of protection could be enhanced after homologous boosting with the same Ad+MVA mixture to levels comparable with classic heterologous Ad prime-MVA boost regimes. The mixture increased transgene-specific responses while decreasing the CD8(+) T cell antivector immunity compared to each vector used alone, particularly against the MVA backbone. Mixed vector immunization led to increased early circulating interferon-γ (IFN-γ) response levels and altered transcriptional microarray profiles. Furthermore, we found that sequential immunizations with the Ad+MVA mixture led to consistent boosting of the transgene-specific CD8(+) response for up to three mixture immunizations, whereas each vector used alone elicited progressively lower responses. Our findings offer the possibility of simplifying the deployment of viral vectors as a single mixture product rather than in heterologous prime-boost regimens.

Chapman SJ, Hill AV. 2012. Human genetic susceptibility to infectious disease. Nat Rev Genet, 13 (3), pp. 175-188. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent genome-wide studies have reported novel associations between common polymorphisms and susceptibility to many major infectious diseases in humans. In parallel, an increasing number of rare mutations underlying susceptibility to specific phenotypes of infectious disease have been described. Together, these developments have highlighted a key role for host genetic variation in determining the susceptibility to infectious disease. They have also provided insights into the genetic architecture of infectious disease susceptibility and identified immune molecules and pathways that are directly relevant to the human host defence.

O'Hara GA, Duncan CJ, Ewer KJ, Collins KA, Elias SC, Halstead FD, Goodman AL, Edwards NJ, Reyes-Sandoval A, Bird P et al. 2012. Clinical assessment of a recombinant simian adenovirus ChAd63: a potent new vaccine vector. J Infect Dis, 205 (5), pp. 772-781. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vaccine development in human Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been hampered by the exceptionally high levels of CD8(+) T cells required for efficacy. Use of potently immunogenic human adenoviruses as vaccine vectors could overcome this problem, but these are limited by preexisting immunity to human adenoviruses. METHODS: From 2007 to 2010, we undertook a phase I dose and route finding study of a new malaria vaccine, a replication-incompetent chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) encoding the preerythrocytic insert multiple epitope thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (ME-TRAP; n = 54 vaccinees) administered alone (n = 28) or with a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) ME-TRAP booster immunization 8 weeks later (n = 26). We observed an excellent safety profile. High levels of TRAP antigen-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells, as detected by interferon γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay and flow cytometry, were induced by intramuscular ChAd63 ME-TRAP immunization at doses of 5 × 10(10) viral particles and above. Subsequent administration of MVA ME-TRAP boosted responses to exceptionally high levels, and responses were maintained for up to 30 months postvaccination. CONCLUSIONS: The ChAd63 chimpanzee adenovirus vector appears safe and highly immunogenic, providing a viable alternative to human adenoviruses as vaccine vectors for human use. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT00890019.

Colloca S, Barnes E, Folgori A, Ammendola V, Capone S, Cirillo A, Siani L, Naddeo M, Grazioli F, Esposito ML et al. 2012. Vaccine vectors derived from a large collection of simian adenoviruses induce potent cellular immunity across multiple species. Sci Transl Med, 4 (115), pp. 115ra2. | Show Abstract | Read more

Replication-defective adenovirus vectors based on human serotype 5 (Ad5) induce protective immune responses against diverse pathogens and cancer in animal models, as well as elicit robust and sustained cellular immunity in humans. However, most humans have neutralizing antibodies to Ad5, which can impair the immunological potency of such vaccines. Here, we show that rare serotypes of human adenoviruses, which should not be neutralized in most humans, are far less potent as vaccine vectors than Ad5 in mice and nonhuman primates, casting doubt on their potential efficacy in humans. To identify novel vaccine carriers suitable for vaccine delivery in humans, we isolated and sequenced more than 1000 adenovirus strains from chimpanzees (ChAd). Replication-defective vectors were generated from a subset of these ChAd serotypes and screened to determine whether they were neutralized by human sera and able to grow in human cell lines. We then ranked these ChAd vectors by immunological potency and found up to a thousandfold variation in potency for CD8+ T cell induction in mice. These ChAd vectors were safe and immunologically potent in phase 1 clinical trials, thereby validating our screening approach. These data suggest that the ChAd vectors developed here represent a large collection of non-cross-reactive, potent vectors that may be exploited for the development of new vaccines.




Sheehy SH, Duncan CJ, Elias SC, Choudhary P, Biswas S, Halstead FD, Collins KA, Edwards NJ, Douglas AD, Anagnostou NA et al. 2012. ChAd63-MVA-vectored blood-stage Malaria vaccines targeting MSP1 and AMA1: Assessment of efficacy against mosquito bite challenge in humans Molecular Therapy, 20 (12), pp. 2355-2368. | Read more




Maller JB, McVean G, Byrnes J, Vukcevic D, Palin K, Su Z, Howson JMM, Auton A, Myers S, Morris A et al. 2012. Bayesian refinement of association signals for 14 loci in 3 common diseases Nature Genetics, 44 (12), pp. 1294-1301. | Read more

Antrobus RD, Lillie PJ, Berthoud TK, Spencer AJ, McLaren JE, Ladell K, Lambe T, Milicic A, Price DA, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2012. A T cell-inducing influenza vaccine for the elderly: safety and immunogenicity of MVA-NP+M1 in adults aged over 50 years. PLoS One, 7 (10), pp. e48322. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Current influenza vaccines have reduced immunogenicity and are of uncertain efficacy in older adults. We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of MVA-NP+M1, a viral-vectored influenza vaccine designed to boost memory T cell responses, in a group of older adults. METHODS: Thirty volunteers (aged 50-85) received a single intramuscular injection of MVA-NP+M1 at a dose of 1·5×10(8) plaque forming units (pfu). Safety and immunogenicity were assessed over a period of one year. The frequency of T cells specific for nucleoprotein (NP) and matrix protein 1 (M1) was determined by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) ELISpot, and their phenotypic and functional properties were characterized by polychromatic flow cytometry. In a subset of M1-specific CD8(+) T cells, T cell receptor (TCR) gene expression was evaluated using an unbiased molecular approach. RESULTS: Vaccination with MVA-NP+M1 was well tolerated. ELISpot responses were boosted significantly above baseline following vaccination. Increases were detected in both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell subsets. Clonality studies indicated that MVA-NP+M1 expanded pre-existing memory CD8(+) T cells, which displayed a predominant CD27(+)CD45RO(+)CD57(-)CCR7(-) phenotype both before and after vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: MVA-NP+M1 is safe and immunogenic in older adults. Unlike seasonal influenza vaccination, the immune responses generated by MVA-NP+M1 are similar between younger and older individuals. A T cell-inducing vaccine such as MVA-NP+M1 may therefore provide a way to circumvent the immunosenescence that impairs routine influenza vaccination. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00942071.

Forbes EK, de Cassan SC, Llewellyn D, Biswas S, Goodman AL, Cottingham MG, Long CA, Pleass RJ, Hill AV, Hill F, Draper SJ. 2012. T cell responses induced by adenoviral vectored vaccines can be adjuvanted by fusion of antigen to the oligomerization domain of C4b-binding protein. PLoS One, 7 (9), pp. e44943. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral vectored vaccines have been shown to induce both T cell and antibody responses in animals and humans. However, the induction of even higher level T cell responses may be crucial in achieving vaccine efficacy against difficult disease targets, especially in humans. Here we investigate the oligomerization domain of the α-chain of C4b-binding protein (C4 bp) as a candidate T cell "molecular adjuvant" when fused to malaria antigens expressed by human adenovirus serotype 5 (AdHu5) vectored vaccines in BALB/c mice. We demonstrate that i) C-terminal fusion of an oligomerization domain can enhance the quantity of antigen-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses induced in mice after only a single immunization of recombinant AdHu5, and that the T cells maintain similar functional cytokine profiles; ii) an adjuvant effect is observed for AdHu5 vectors expressing either the 42 kDa C-terminal domain of Plasmodium yoelii merozoite surface protein 1 (PyMSP1(42)) or the 83 kDa ectodomain of P. falciparum strain 3D7 apical membrane antigen 1 (PfAMA1), but not a candidate 128kDa P. falciparum MSP1 biallelic fusion antigen; iii) following two homologous immunizations of AdHu5 vaccines, antigen-specific T cell responses are further enhanced, however, in both BALB/c mice and New Zealand White rabbits no enhancement of functional antibody responses is observed; and iv) that the T cell adjuvant activity of C4 bp is not dependent on a functional Fc-receptor γ-chain in the host, but is associated with the oligomerization of small (<80 kDa) antigens expressed by recombinant AdHu5. The oligomerization domain of C4 bp can thus adjuvant T cell responses induced by AdHu5 vectors against selected antigens and its clinical utility as well as mechanism of action warrant further investigation.

Lillie PJ, Duncan CJA, Sheehy SH, Meyer J, O'Hara GA, Gilbert SC, Hill AVS. 2012. Distinguishing malaria and influenza: Early clinical features in controlled human experimental infection studies Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 10 (4), pp. 192-196. | Read more

Duncan CJ, Rowland R, Lillie PJ, Meyer J, Sheehy SH, O'Hara GA, Hamill M, Donaldson H, Dinsmore L, Poulton ID et al. 2012. Incidental diagnosis in healthy clinical trial subjects. Clin Transl Sci, 5 (4), pp. 348-350. | Show Abstract | Read more

Previously unrecognized medical conditions identified in volunteers for early phase clinical studies have significant clinical and ethical implications for the participant. It is therefore crucial that the potential for unexpected diagnosis is addressed during the informed consent process. But the frequency of incidental diagnosis in healthy volunteers who attend for clinical trial screening remains unclear. To assess this we retrospectively analyzed 1,131 independent screening visits for 990 volunteers at a single academic center over a 10-year period to describe the frequency and nature of new clinical findings. Overall 23 of 990 volunteers (2.3%) were excluded at screening for a newly diagnosed medical abnormality. Some clinically important conditions, such as nephrotic syndrome and familial hypercholesterolemia were identified. The frequency of abnormalities was associated with increasing age in males (p= 0.02 χ(2) for trend) but not females (p= 0.82). These data will assist those planning and conducting phase I/II vaccine trials in healthy volunteers, and importantly should strengthen the informed consent of future trial participants.




Reyes-Sandoval A, Rollier CS, Milicic A, Bauza K, Cottingham MG, Tang CK, Dicks MD, Wang D, Longley RJ, Wyllie DH, Hill AVS. 2012. Mixed vector immunization with recombinant adenovirus and MVA can improve vaccine efficacy while decreasing antivector immunity Molecular Therapy, 20 (8), pp. 1633-1647. | Read more

Pathan AA, Minassian AM, Sander CR, Rowland R, Porter DW, Poulton ID, Hill AV, Fletcher HA, McShane H. 2012. Effect of vaccine dose on the safety and immunogenicity of a candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A, in BCG vaccinated UK adults. Vaccine, 30 (38), pp. 5616-5624. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: A non-randomised, open-label, Phase I safety and immunogenicity dose-finding study to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the candidate TB vaccine Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara expressing Antigen 85A (MVA85A) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in healthy adult volunteers previously vaccinated with BCG. METHODS: Healthy BCG-vaccinated volunteers were vaccinated with either 1×10(7) or 1×10(8)PFU of MVA85A. All adverse events were documented and antigen specific T cell responses were measured using an ex vivo IFN-γ ELISPOT assay. Safety and immunogenicity were compared between the 2 dose groups and with a previous trial in which a dose of 5×10(7)PFU MVA85A had been administered. RESULTS: There were no serious adverse events recorded following administration of either 1×10(7) or 1×10(8)PFU of MVA85A. Systemic adverse events were more frequently reported following administration of 1×10(8)PFU of MVA85A when compared to either 5×10(7) or 1×10(7)PFU of MVA85A but were mild or moderate in severity and resolved completely within 7 days of immunisation. Antigen specific T cell responses as measured by the IFN-γ ELISPOT were significantly higher following immunisation in adults receiving 1×10(8)PFU compared to the 5×10(7) and 1×10(7) doses. Additionally, a broader range of Ag85A epitopes are detected following 1×10(8)PFU of MVA85A. CONCLUSION: A higher dose of 1×10(8)PFU of MVA85A is well-tolerated, increases the frequency of IFN-γ secreting T cells detected following immunisation and broadens the range of Ag85A epitopes detected.

Wyllie DH, Søgaard KC, Holland K, Yaobo X, Bregu M, Hill AV, Kiss-Toth E. 2012. Identification of 34 novel proinflammatory proteins in a genome-wide macrophage functional screen. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e42388. | Show Abstract | Read more

Signal transduction pathways activated by Toll-like Receptors and the IL-1 family of cytokines are fundamental to mounting an innate immune response and thus to clearing pathogens and promoting wound healing. Whilst mechanistic understanding of the regulation of innate signalling pathways has advanced considerably in recent years, there are still a number of critical controllers to be discovered. In order to characterise novel regulators of macrophage inflammation, we have carried out an extensive, cDNA-based forward genetic screen and identified 34 novel activators, based on their ability to induce the expression of cxcl2. Many are physiologically expressed in macrophages, although the majority of genes uncovered in our screen have not previously been linked to innate immunity. We show that expression of particular activators has profound but distinct impacts on LPS-induced inflammatory gene expression, including switch-type, amplifier and sensitiser behaviours. Furthermore, the novel genes identified here interact with the canonical inflammatory signalling network via specific mechanisms, as demonstrated by the use of dominant negative forms of IL1/TLR signalling mediators.

Laurens MB, Duncan CJ, Epstein JE, Hill AV, Komisar JL, Lyke KE, Ockenhouse CF, Richie TL, Roestenberg M, Sauerwein RW et al. 2012. A consultation on the optimization of controlled human malaria infection by mosquito bite for evaluation of candidate malaria vaccines. Vaccine, 30 (36), pp. 5302-5304. | Show Abstract | Read more

Early clinical investigations of candidate malaria vaccines and antimalarial medications increasingly employ an established model of controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). Study results are used to guide further clinical development of vaccines and antimalarial medications as CHMI results to date are generally predictive of efficacy in malaria-endemic areas. The urgency to rapidly develop an efficacious malaria vaccine has increased demand for efficacy studies that include CHMI and the need for comparability of study results among the different centres conducting CHMI. An initial meeting with the goal to optimize and standardise CHMI procedures was held in 2009 with follow-up meetings in March and June 2010 to harmonise methods used at different centres. The end result is a standardised document for the design and conduct of CHMI and a second document for the microscopy methods used to determine the patency endpoint. These documents will facilitate high accuracy and comparability of CHMI studies and will be revised commensurate with advances in the field.

Moore CE, Hennig BJ, Perrett KP, Hoe JC, Lee SJ, Fletcher H, Brocklebank D, O'Connor D, Snape MD, Hall AJ et al. 2012. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the toll-like receptor 3 and CD44 genes are associated with persistence of vaccine-induced immunity to the serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 19 (3), pp. 295-303. | Read more

Minassian AM, Satti I, Poulton ID, Meyer J, Hill AV, McShane H. 2012. A human challenge model for Mycobacterium tuberculosis using Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin. J Infect Dis, 205 (7), pp. 1035-1042. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is currently no safe human challenge model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection to enable proof-of-concept efficacy evaluation of candidate vaccines against tuberculosis. In vivo antimycobacterial immunity could be assessed using intradermal Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination as a surrogate for M. tuberculosis infection. METHODS: Healthy BCG-naive and BCG-vaccinated volunteers were challenged with intradermal BCG. BCG load was quantified from skin biopsy specimens by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and culture colony-forming units. Cellular infiltrate was isolated by suction blisters and examined by flow cytometry. Prechallenge immune readouts were correlated with BCG load after challenge. RESULTS: In BCG-naive volunteers, live BCG was detected at the challenge site for up to 4 weeks and peaked at 2 weeks. Infiltration of mainly CD15(+) neutrophils was observed in blister fluid. In previously BCG-vaccinated individuals, PCR analysis of skin biopsy specimens reflected a degree of mycobacterial immunity. There was no significant correlation between BCG load after challenge and mycobacterial-specific memory T cells measured before challenge by cultured enzyme-linked immunospot assay. CONCLUSIONS: This novel experimental human challenge model provides a platform for the identification of correlates of antimycobacterial immunity and will greatly facilitate the rational down-selection of candidate tuberculosis vaccines. Further evaluation of this model with BCG and new vaccine candidates is warranted.

Laurens MB, Duncan CJ, Epstein JE, Hill AV, Komisar JL, Lyke KE, Ockenhouse CF, Richie TL, Roestenberg M, Sauerwein RW et al. 2012. A consultation on the optimization of controlled human malaria infection by mosquito bite for evaluation of candidate malaria vaccines Vaccine,

Dicks MD, Spencer AJ, Edwards NJ, Wadell G, Bojang K, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Cottingham MG. 2012. A novel chimpanzee adenovirus vector with low human seroprevalence: improved systems for vector derivation and comparative immunogenicity. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e40385. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recombinant adenoviruses are among the most promising tools for vaccine antigen delivery. Recently, the development of new vectors has focused on serotypes to which the human population is less exposed in order to circumvent pre-existing anti vector immunity. This study describes the derivation of a new vaccine vector based on a chimpanzee adenovirus, Y25, together with a comparative assessment of its potential to elicit transgene product specific immune responses in mice. The vector was constructed in a bacterial artificial chromosome to facilitate genetic manipulation of genomic clones. In order to conduct a fair head-to-head immunological comparison of multiple adenoviral vectors, we optimised a method for accurate determination of infectious titre, since this parameter exhibits profound natural variability and can confound immunogenicity studies when doses are based on viral particle estimation. Cellular immunogenicity of recombinant E1 E3-deleted vector ChAdY25 was comparable to that of other species E derived chimpanzee adenovirus vectors including ChAd63, the first simian adenovirus vector to enter clinical trials in humans. Furthermore, the prevalence of virus neutralizing antibodies (titre >1:200) against ChAdY25 in serum samples collected from two human populations in the UK and Gambia was particularly low compared to published data for other chimpanzee adenoviruses. These findings support the continued development of new chimpanzee adenovirus vectors, including ChAdY25, for clinical use.

Roestenberg M, O'Hara GA, Duncan CJ, Epstein JE, Edwards NJ, Scholzen A, van der Ven AJ, Hermsen CC, Hill AV, Sauerwein RW. 2012. Comparison of clinical and parasitological data from controlled human malaria infection trials. PLoS One, 7 (6), pp. e38434. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Exposing healthy human volunteers to Plasmodium falciparum-infected mosquitoes is an accepted tool to evaluate preliminary efficacy of malaria vaccines. To accommodate the demand of the malaria vaccine pipeline, controlled infections are carried out in an increasing number of centers worldwide. We assessed their safety and reproducibility. METHODS: We reviewed safety and parasitological data from 128 malaria-naïve subjects participating in controlled malaria infection trials conducted at the University of Oxford, UK, and the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, The Netherlands. Results were compared to a report from the US Military Malaria Vaccine Program. RESULTS: We show that controlled human malaria infection trials are safe and demonstrate a consistent safety profile with minor differences in the frequencies of arthralgia, fatigue, chills and fever between institutions. But prepatent periods show significant variation. Detailed analysis of Q-PCR data reveals highly synchronous blood stage parasite growth and multiplication rates. CONCLUSIONS: Procedural differences can lead to some variation in safety profile and parasite kinetics between institutions. Further harmonization and standardization of protocols will be useful for wider adoption of these cost-effective small-scale efficacy trials. Nevertheless, parasite growth rates are highly reproducible, illustrating the robustness of controlled infections as a valid tool for malaria vaccine development.

Lambe T, Spencer AJ, Mullarkey CE, Antrobus RD, Yu LM, De Whalley P, Thompson BAV, Jones C, Chalk J, Kerridge S et al. 2012. T-cell responses in children to internal influenza antigens, 1 year after immunization with pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine, and response to revaccination with seasonal trivalent-inactivated influenza vaccine Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 31 (6), | Read more

Scriba TJ, Tameris M, Smit E, van der Merwe L, Hughes EJ, Kadira B, Mauff K, Moyo S, Brittain N, Lawrie A et al. 2012. A phase IIa trial of the new tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A, in HIV- and/or Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected adults. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 185 (7), pp. 769-778. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Novel tuberculosis (TB) vaccines should be safe and effective in populations infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) and/or HIV for effective TB control. OBJECTIVE: To determine the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A, a novel TB vaccine, among M.tb- and/or HIV-infected persons in a setting where TB and HIV are endemic. METHODS: An open-label, phase IIa trial was conducted in 48 adults with M.tb and/or HIV infection. Safety and immunogenicity were analyzed up to 52 weeks after intradermal vaccination with 5 × 10(7) plaque-forming units of MVA85A. Specific T-cell responses were characterized by IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot and whole blood intracellular cytokine staining assays. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: MVA85A was well tolerated and no vaccine-related serious adverse events were recorded. MVA85A induced robust and durable response of mostly polyfunctional CD4(+) T cells, coexpressing IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-2. Magnitudes of pre- and postvaccination T-cell responses were lower in HIV-infected, compared with HIV-uninfected, vaccinees. No significant effect of antiretroviral therapy on immunogenicity of MVA85A was observed. CONCLUSIONS: MVA85A was safe and immunogenic in persons with HIV and/or M.tb infection. These results support further evaluation of safety and efficacy of this vaccine for prevention of TB in these target populations.




Vrdoljak A, McGrath MG, Carey JB, Draper SJ, Hill AVS, O'Mahony C, Crean AM, Moore AC. 2012. Coated microneedle arrays for transcutaneous delivery of live virus vaccines Journal of Controlled Release, 159 (1), pp. 34-42. | Read more

Milicic A, Kaur R, Reyes-Sandoval A, Tang CK, Honeycutt J, Perrie Y, Hill AV. 2012. Small cationic DDA:TDB liposomes as protein vaccine adjuvants obviate the need for TLR agonists in inducing cellular and humoral responses. PLoS One, 7 (3), pp. e34255. | Show Abstract | Read more

Most subunit vaccines require adjuvants in order to induce protective immune responses to the targeted pathogen. However, many of the potent immunogenic adjuvants display unacceptable local or systemic reactogenicity. Liposomes are spherical vesicles consisting of single (unilamellar) or multiple (multilamellar) phospholipid bi-layers. The lipid membranes are interleaved with an aqueous buffer, which can be utilised to deliver hydrophilic vaccine components, such as protein antigens or ligands for immune receptors. Liposomes, in particular cationic DDA:TDB vesicles, have been shown in animal models to induce strong humoral responses to the associated antigen without increased reactogenicity, and are currently being tested in Phase I human clinical trials. We explored several modifications of DDA:TDB liposomes--including size, antigen association and addition of TLR agonists--to assess their immunogenic capacity as vaccine adjuvants, using Ovalbumin (OVA) protein as a model protein vaccine. Following triple homologous immunisation, small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs) with no TLR agonists showed a significantly higher capacity for inducing spleen CD8 IFNγ responses against OVA in comparison with the larger multilamellar vesicles (MLVs). Antigen-specific antibody reponses were also higher with SUVs. Addition of the TLR3 and TLR9 agonists significantly increased the adjuvanting capacity of MLVs and OVA-encapsulating dehydration-rehydration vesicles (DRVs), but not of SUVs. Our findings lend further support to the use of liposomes as protein vaccine adjuvants. Importantly, the ability of DDA:TDB SUVs to induce potent CD8 T cell responses without the need for adding immunostimulators would avoid the potential safety risks associated with the clinical use of TLR agonists in vaccines adjuvanted with liposomes.

Spencer AJ, Hill F, Honeycutt JD, Cottingham MG, Bregu M, Rollier CS, Furze J, Draper SJ, Søgaard KC, Gilbert SC et al. 2012. Fusion of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85A to an oligomerization domain enhances its immunogenicity in both mice and non-human primates. PLoS One, 7 (3), pp. e33555. | Show Abstract | Read more

To prevent important infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, vaccines inducing greater T cell responses are required. In this study, we investigated whether fusion of the M. tuberculosis antigen 85A to recently described adjuvant IMX313, a hybrid avian C4bp oligomerization domain, could increase T cell responses in pre-clinical vaccine model species. In mice, the fused antigen 85A showed consistent increases in CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses after DNA and MVA vaccination. In rhesus macaques, higher IFN-γ responses were observed in animals vaccinated with MVA-Ag85A IMX313 after both primary and secondary immunizations. In both animal models, fusion to IMX313 induced a quantitative enhancement in the response without altering its quality: multifunctional cytokines were uniformly increased and differentiation into effector and memory T cell subsets was augmented rather than skewed. An extensive in vivo characterization suggests that IMX313 improves the initiation of immune responses as an increase in antigen 85A specific cells was observed as early as day 3 after vaccination. This report demonstrates that antigen multimerization using IMX313 is a simple and effective cross-species method to improve vaccine immunogenicity with potentially broad applicability.




Thye T, Owusu-Dabo E, Vannberg FO, Van Crevel R, Curtis J, Sahiratmadja E, Balabanova Y, Ehmen C, Muntau B, Ruge G et al. 2012. Common variants at 11p13 are associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis Nature Genetics, 44 (3), pp. 257-259. | Read more

Hill AV. 2012. RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine in African children. N Engl J Med, 366 (8), pp. 764. | Read more




Chapman SJ, Hill AVS. 2012. Human genetic susceptibility to infectious disease Nature Reviews Genetics, 13 (3), pp. 175-188. | Read more

Thye T, Owusu-Dabo E, Vannberg FO, van Crevel R, Curtis J, Sahiratmadja E, Balabanova Y, Ehmen C, Muntau B, Ruge G et al. 2012. Common variants at 11p13 are associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis. Nat Genet, 44 (3), pp. 257-259. | Show Abstract | Read more

After imputation of data from the 1000 Genomes Project into a genome-wide dataset of Ghanaian individuals with tuberculosis and controls, we identified a resistance locus on chromosome 11p13 downstream of the WT1 gene (encoding Wilms tumor 1). The strongest signal was obtained at the rs2057178 SNP (P = 2.63 × 10(-9)). Replication in Gambian, Indonesian and Russian tuberculosis case-control study cohorts increased the significance level for the association with this SNP to P = 2.57 × 10(-11).

Vrdoljak A, McGrath MG, Carey JB, Draper SJ, Hill AV, O'Mahony C, Crean AM, Moore AC. 2012. Coated microneedle arrays for transcutaneous delivery of live virus vaccines. J Control Release, 159 (1), pp. 34-42. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccines are sensitive biologics that require continuous refrigerated storage to maintain their viability. The vast majority of vaccines are also administered using needles and syringes. The need for cold chain storage and the significant logistics surrounding needle-and-syringe vaccination is constraining the success of immunization programs. Recombinant live viral vectors are a promising platform for the development of vaccines against a number of infectious diseases, however these viruses must retain infectivity to be effective. Microneedles offer an effective and painless method for delivery of vaccines directly into skin that in the future could provide solutions to current vaccination issues. Here we investigated methods of coating live recombinant adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors onto solid microneedle arrays. An effective spray-coating method, using conventional pharmaceutical processes, was developed, in tandem with suitable sugar-based formulations, which produces arrays with a unique coating of viable virus in a dry form around the shaft of each microneedle on the array. Administration of live virus-coated microneedle arrays successfully resulted in virus delivery, transcutaneous infection and induced an antibody or CD8(+) T cell response in mice that was comparable to that obtained by needle-and-syringe intradermal immunization. To our knowledge, this is the first report of successful vaccination with recombinant live viral vectored vaccines coated on microneedle delivery devices.

Sheehy SH, Duncan CJ, Elias SC, Biswas S, Collins KA, O'Hara GA, Halstead FD, Ewer KJ, Mahungu T, Spencer AJ et al. 2012. Phase Ia clinical evaluation of the safety and immunogenicity of the Plasmodium falciparum blood-stage antigen AMA1 in ChAd63 and MVA vaccine vectors. PLoS One, 7 (2), pp. e31208. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Traditionally, vaccine development against the blood-stage of Plasmodium falciparum infection has focused on recombinant protein-adjuvant formulations in order to induce high-titer growth-inhibitory antibody responses. However, to date no such vaccine encoding a blood-stage antigen(s) alone has induced significant protective efficacy against erythrocytic-stage infection in a pre-specified primary endpoint of a Phase IIa/b clinical trial designed to assess vaccine efficacy. Cell-mediated responses, acting in conjunction with functional antibodies, may be necessary for immunity against blood-stage P. falciparum. The development of a vaccine that could induce both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses would enable important proof-of-concept efficacy studies to be undertaken to address this question. METHODOLOGY: We conducted a Phase Ia, non-randomized clinical trial in 16 healthy, malaria-naïve adults of the chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) replication-deficient viral vectored vaccines encoding two alleles (3D7 and FVO) of the P. falciparum blood-stage malaria antigen; apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1). ChAd63-MVA AMA1 administered in a heterologous prime-boost regime was shown to be safe and immunogenic, inducing high-level T cell responses to both alleles 3D7 (median 2036 SFU/million PBMC) and FVO (median 1539 SFU/million PBMC), with a mixed CD4(+)/CD8(+) phenotype, as well as substantial AMA1-specific serum IgG responses (medians of 49 µg/mL and 41 µg/mL for 3D7 and FVO AMA1 respectively) that demonstrated growth inhibitory activity in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: ChAd63-MVA is a safe and highly immunogenic delivery platform for both alleles of the AMA1 antigen in humans which warrants further efficacy testing. ChAd63-MVA is a promising heterologous prime-boost vaccine strategy that could be applied to numerous other diseases where strong cellular and humoral immune responses are required for protection. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01095055.

Moore CE, Hennig BJ, Perrett KP, Hoe JC, Lee SJ, Fletcher H, Brocklebank D, O'Connor D, Snape MD, Hall AJ et al. 2012. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the Toll-like receptor 3 and CD44 genes are associated with persistence of vaccine-induced immunity to the serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 19 (3), pp. 295-303. | Show Abstract | Read more

The rate of decay of antibody concentration following serogroup C meningococcal (MenC) polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccination varies between individuals. This depends partly on vaccination age but may be influenced by human genetics. We studied 721 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 131 candidate genes in a first cohort of 905 Caucasians (11 to 21 years old; mean time after vaccination, 4.9 years) and 30 SNPs across 17 genes in a replication study using 155 children, aged 6 to 12 years (mean time after vaccination, 6.7 years), and 196 infants (1 year old; mean time after vaccination, 8 months). Individuals were classified as responders or nonresponders for total MenC IgG concentration and MenC serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) measurements. Associated genes were examined further for quantitative outcome measures. Fifty-nine SNPs in 37 genes were associated with IgG persistence (adjusted for age at measurement), and 56 SNPs in 36 genes were associated with SBA persistence (adjusted for age at measurement and vaccine used). Three SNPs each within the Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) (rs3775291, rs3775292, and rs5743312) and CD44 (rs11033013, rs353644, and rs996076) genes were associated with IgG (adjusted for age at measurement) or SBA (adjusted for age at measurement and vaccine used) persistence in the initial genetic study (P, 0.02 to 0.04). Single SNPs within the TLR3 (rs7657186) (P = 0.004 [unadjusted]) and CD44 (rs12419062) (P = 0.01 [unadjusted]) genes were associated with IgG persistence in the replication study. These results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in the TLR3 and CD44 genes are associated with the persistence of the immune response to MenC vaccines 1 to 6 years after vaccination.

Duncan CJA, Hill AVS. 2011. THE RTS,S MALARIA VACCINE What is the efficacy of the RTS,S malaria vaccine? BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 343 (dec13 1), pp. d7728-d7728. | Read more

Good MF, Hill AVS. 2011. Mixed results for a malaria vaccine NATURE MEDICINE, 17 (12), pp. 1560-1561. | Read more

Greenwood B, Salisbury D, Hill AV. 2011. Vaccines and global health. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 366 (1579), pp. 2733-2742. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccines have made a major contribution to global health in recent decades but they could do much more. In November 2011, a Royal Society discussion meeting, 'New vaccines for global health', was held in London to discuss the past contribution of vaccines to global health and to consider what more could be expected in the future. Papers presented at the meeting reviewed recent successes in the deployment of vaccines against major infections of childhood and the challenges faced in developing vaccines against some of the world's remaining major infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), malaria and tuberculosis. The important contribution that development of more effective veterinary vaccines could make to global health was also addressed. Some of the social and financial challenges to the development and deployment of new vaccines were reviewed. The latter issues were also discussed at a subsequent satellite meeting, 'Accelerating vaccine development', held at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre. Delegates at this meeting considered challenges to the more rapid development and deployment of both human and veterinary vaccines and how these might be addressed. Papers based on presentations at the discussion meeting and a summary of the main conclusions of the satellite meeting are included in this issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Hill AV. 2011. Vaccines against malaria. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 366 (1579), pp. 2806-2814. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is no licenced vaccine against any human parasitic disease and Plasmodium falciparum malaria, a major cause of infectious mortality, presents a great challenge to vaccine developers. This has led to the assessment of a wide variety of approaches to malaria vaccine design and development, assisted by the availability of a safe challenge model for small-scale efficacy testing of vaccine candidates. Malaria vaccine development has been at the forefront of assessing many new vaccine technologies including novel adjuvants, vectored prime-boost regimes and the concept of community vaccination to block malaria transmission. Most current vaccine candidates target a single stage of the parasite's life cycle and vaccines against the early pre-erythrocytic stages have shown most success. A protein in adjuvant vaccine, working through antibodies against sporozoites, and viral vector vaccines targeting the intracellular liver-stage parasite with cellular immunity show partial efficacy in humans, and the anti-sporozoite vaccine is currently in phase III trials. However, a more effective malaria vaccine suitable for widespread cost-effective deployment is likely to require a multi-component vaccine targeting more than one life cycle stage. The most attractive near-term approach to develop such a product is to combine existing partially effective pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidates.

Hill AVS. 2011. Genetic Vaccines for Malaria HUMAN GENE THERAPY, 22 (10), pp. A15-A15.

Thøgersen RL, Holder AA, Hill AV, Arnot DE, Imoukhuede EB, Leroy O. 2011. Comparative decline in funding of European Commission malaria vaccine projects: what next for the European scientists working in this field? Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 255. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since 2000, under the Fifth and subsequent Framework Programmes, the European Commission has funded research to spur the development of a malaria vaccine. This funding has contributed to the promotion of an integrated infrastructure consisting of European basic, applied and clinical scientists in academia and small and medium enterprises, together with partners in Africa. Research has added basic understanding of what is required of a malaria vaccine, allowing selected candidates to be prioritized and some to be moved forward into clinical trials. To end the health burden of malaria, and its economic and social impact on development, the international community has now essentially committed itself to the eventual eradication of malaria. Given the current tentative advances towards elimination or eradication of malaria in many endemic areas, malaria vaccines constitute an additional and almost certainly essential component of any strategic plan to interrupt transmission of malaria. However, funding for malaria vaccines has been substantially reduced in the Seventh Framework Programme compared with earlier Framework Programmes, and without further support the gains made by earlier European investment will be lost.

Forbes EK, Biswas S, Collins KA, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Draper SJ. 2011. Combining liver- and blood-stage malaria viral-vectored vaccines: investigating mechanisms of CD8+ T cell interference. J Immunol, 187 (7), pp. 3738-3750. | Show Abstract | Read more

Replication-deficient adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors expressing single pre-erythrocytic or blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum Ags have entered clinical testing using a heterologous prime-boost immunization approach. In this study, we investigated the utility of the same immunization regimen when combining viral vectored vaccines expressing the 42-kDa C terminus of the blood-stage Ag merozoite surface protein 1 and the pre-erythrocytic Ag circumsporozoite protein in the Plasmodium yoelii mouse model. We find that vaccine coadministration leads to maintained Ab responses and efficacy against blood-stage infection, but reduced secondary CD8(+) T cell responses against both Ags and efficacy against liver-stage infection. CD8(+) T cell interference can be minimized by coadministering the MVA vaccines at separate sites, resulting in enhanced liver-stage efficacy in mice immunized against both Ags compared with just one. CD8(+) T cell interference (following MVA coadministration as a mixture) may be caused partly by a lack of physiologic space for high-magnitude responses against multiple Ags, but is not caused by competition for presentation of Ag on MHC class I molecules, nor is it due to restricted T cell access to APCs presenting both Ags. Instead, enhanced killing of peptide-pulsed cells is observed in mice possessing pre-existing T cells against two Ags compared with just one, suggesting that priming against multiple Ags may in part reduce the potency of multiantigen MVA vectors to stimulate secondary CD8(+) T cell responses. These data have important implications for the development of a multistage or multicomponent viral vectored malaria vaccine for use in humans.

Sheehy SH, Duncan CJ, Elias SC, Collins KA, Ewer KJ, Spencer AJ, Williams AR, Halstead FD, Moretz SE, Miura K et al. 2011. Phase Ia clinical evaluation of the Plasmodium falciparum blood-stage antigen MSP1 in ChAd63 and MVA vaccine vectors. Mol Ther, 19 (12), pp. 2269-2276. | Show Abstract | Read more

Efficacy trials of antibody-inducing protein-in-adjuvant vaccines targeting the blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite have so far shown disappointing results. The induction of cell-mediated responses in conjunction with antibody responses is thought to be one alternative strategy that could achieve protective efficacy in humans. Here, we prepared chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) replication-deficient vectors encoding the well-studied P. falciparum blood-stage malaria antigen merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1). A phase Ia clinical trial was conducted in healthy adults of a ChAd63-MVA MSP1 heterologous prime-boost immunization regime. The vaccine was safe and generally well tolerated. Fewer systemic adverse events (AEs) were observed following ChAd63 MSP1 than MVA MSP1 administration. Exceptionally strong T-cell responses were induced, and these displayed a mixed of CD4(+) and CD8(+) phenotype. Substantial MSP1-specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody responses were also induced, which were capable of recognizing native parasite antigen, but these did not reach titers sufficient to neutralize P. falciparum parasites in vitro. This viral vectored vaccine regime is thus a leading approach for the induction of strong cellular and humoral immunogenicity against difficult disease targets in humans. Further studies are required to assess whether this strategy can achieve protective efficacy against blood-stage malaria infection.

de Cassan SC, Forbes EK, Douglas AD, Milicic A, Singh B, Gupta P, Chauhan VS, Chitnis CE, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Draper SJ. 2011. The requirement for potent adjuvants to enhance the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of protein vaccines can be overcome by prior immunization with a recombinant adenovirus. J Immunol, 187 (5), pp. 2602-2616. | Show Abstract | Read more

A central goal in vaccinology is the induction of high and sustained Ab responses. Protein-in-adjuvant formulations are commonly used to achieve such responses. However, their clinical development can be limited by the reactogenicity of some of the most potent preclinical adjuvants and the cost and complexity of licensing new adjuvants for human use. Also, few adjuvants induce strong cellular immunity, which is important for protection against many diseases, such as malaria. We compared classical adjuvants such as aluminum hydroxide to new preclinical adjuvants and adjuvants in clinical development, such as Abisco 100, CoVaccine HT, Montanide ISA720, and stable emulsion-glucopyranosyl lipid A, for their ability to induce high and sustained Ab responses and T cell responses. These adjuvants induced a broad range of Ab responses when used in a three-shot protein-in-adjuvant regimen using the model Ag OVA and leading blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate Ags. Surprisingly, this range of Ab immunogenicity was greatly reduced when a protein-in-adjuvant vaccine was used to boost Ab responses primed by a human adenovirus serotype 5 vaccine recombinant for the same Ag. This human adenovirus serotype 5-protein regimen also induced a more cytophilic Ab response and demonstrated improved efficacy of merozoite surface protein-1 protein vaccines against a Plasmodium yoelii blood-stage challenge. This indicates that the differential immunogenicity of protein vaccine adjuvants may be largely overcome by prior immunization with recombinant adenovirus, especially for adjuvants that are traditionally considered poorly immunogenic in the context of subunit vaccination and may circumvent the need for more potent chemical adjuvants.

Pollard AJ, Hill AV. 2011. Antibody repertoire: embracing diversity. Sci Transl Med, 3 (93), pp. 93ps32. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this Perspective, we discuss two papers that show that the breadth of the antibody response to vaccines could be manipulated by the use of particular vaccine adjuvants that stimulate innate immune mechanisms. The ability to increase the repertoire of antibodies induced by a vaccine may help to control variable pathogens that alter their exposed antigens to evade the immune system.

Carey JB, Pearson FE, Vrdoljak A, McGrath MG, Crean AM, Walsh PT, Doody T, O'Mahony C, Hill AV, Moore AC. 2011. Microneedle array design determines the induction of protective memory CD8+ T cell responses induced by a recombinant live malaria vaccine in mice. PLoS One, 6 (7), pp. e22442. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vaccine delivery into the skin has received renewed interest due to ease of access to the immune system and microvasculature, however the stratum corneum (SC), must be breached for successful vaccination. This has been achieved by removing the SC by abrasion or scarification or by delivering the vaccine intradermally (ID) with traditional needle-and-syringes or with long microneedle devices. Microneedle patch-based transdermal vaccine studies have predominantly focused on antibody induction by inactivated or subunit vaccines. Here, our principal aim is to determine if the design of a microneedle patch affects the CD8(+) T cell responses to a malaria antigen induced by a live vaccine. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing a malaria antigen was percutaneously administered to mice using a range of silicon microneedle patches, termed ImmuPatch, that differed in microneedle height, density, patch area and total pore volume. We demonstrate that microneedle arrays that have small total pore volumes induce a significantly greater proportion of central memory T cells that vigorously expand to secondary immunization. Microneedle-mediated vaccine priming induced significantly greater T cell immunity post-boost and equivalent protection against malaria challenge compared to ID vaccination. Notably, unlike ID administration, ImmuPatch-mediated vaccination did not induce inflammatory responses at the site of immunization or in draining lymph nodes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study demonstrates that the design of microneedle patches significantly influences the magnitude and memory of vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cell responses and can be optimised for the induction of desired immune responses. Furthermore, ImmuPatch-mediated delivery may be of benefit to reducing unwanted vaccine reactogenicity. In addition to the advantages of low cost and lack of pain, the development of optimised microneedle array designs for the induction of T cell responses by live vaccines aids the development of solutions to current obstacles of immunization programmes.

Reyes-Sandoval A, Wyllie DH, Bauza K, Milicic A, Forbes EK, Rollier CS, Hill AV. 2011. CD8+ T effector memory cells protect against liver-stage malaria. J Immunol, 187 (3), pp. 1347-1357. | Show Abstract | Read more

Identification of correlates of protection for infectious diseases including malaria is a major challenge and has become one of the main obstacles in developing effective vaccines. We investigated protection against liver-stage malaria conferred by vaccination with adenoviral (Ad) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vectors expressing pre-erythrocytic malaria Ags. By classifying CD8(+) T cells into effector, effector memory (T(EM)), and central memory subsets using CD62L and CD127 markers, we found striking differences in T cell memory generation. Although MVA induced accelerated central memory T cell generation, which could be efficiently boosted by subsequent Ad administration, it failed to protect against malaria. In contrast, Ad vectors, which permit persistent Ag delivery, elicit a prolonged effector T cell and T(EM) response that requires long intervals for an efficient boost. A preferential T(EM) phenotype was maintained in liver, blood, and spleen after Ad/MVA prime-boost regimens, and animals were protected against malaria sporozoite challenge. Blood CD8(+) T(EM) cells correlated with protection against malaria liver-stage infection, assessed by estimation of number of parasites emerging from the liver into the blood. The protective ability of Ag-specific T(EM) cells was confirmed by transfer experiments into naive recipient mice. Thus, we identify persistent CD8 T(EM) populations as essential for vaccine-induced pre-erythrocytic protection against malaria, a finding that has important implications for vaccine design.

Scriba TJ, Tameris M, Mansoor N, Smit E, van der Merwe L, Mauff K, Hughes EJ, Moyo S, Brittain N, Lawrie A et al. 2011. Dose-finding study of the novel tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A, in healthy BCG-vaccinated infants. J Infect Dis, 203 (12), pp. 1832-1843. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: BCG, the only licensed tuberculosis vaccine, affords poor protection against lung tuberculosis in infants and children. A new tuberculosis vaccine, which may enhance the BCG-induced immune response, is urgently needed. We assessed the safety of and characterized the T cell response induced by 3 doses of the candidate vaccine, MVA85A, in BCG-vaccinated infants from a setting where tuberculosis is endemic. METHODS:  Infants aged 5-12 months were vaccinated intradermally with either 2.5 × 10(7), 5 × 10(7), or 10 × 10(7) plaque-forming units of MVA85A, or placebo. Adverse events were documented, and T-cell responses were assessed by interferon γ (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot assay and intracellular cytokine staining. RESULTS: The 3 MVA85A doses were well tolerated, and no vaccine-related serious adverse events were recorded. MVA85A induced potent, durable T-cell responses, which exceeded prevaccination responses up to 168 d after vaccination. No dose-related differences in response magnitude were observed. Multiple CD4 T cell subsets were induced; polyfunctional CD4 T cells co-expressing T-helper cell 1 cytokines with or without granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor predominated. IFN-γ-expressing CD8 T cells, which peaked later than CD4 T cells, were also detectable. CONCLUSIONS: MVA85A was safe and induced robust, polyfunctional, durable CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses in infants. These data support efficacy evaluation of MVA85A to prevent tuberculosis in infancy. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00679159.

Berthoud TK, Dunachie SJ, Todryk S, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2011. MIG (CXCL9) is a more sensitive measure than IFN-gamma of vaccine induced T-cell responses in volunteers receiving investigated malaria vaccines (vol 340, pg 33, 2009) JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGICAL METHODS, 368 (1-2), pp. 84-84. | Read more

Vordermeier HM, Villarreal-Ramos B, Cockle PJ, McAulay M, Rhodes SG, Thacker T, Gilbert SC, McShane H, Hill AVS, Xing Z, Hewinson RG. 2011. Viral Booster Vaccines Improve Mycobacterium bovis BCG-Induced Protection against Bovine Tuberculosis, (vol 77, pg 3371, 2009) INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 79 (5), pp. 2134-2134. | Read more

Tchilian EZ, Desel C, Forbes EK, Bandermann S, Sander CR, Hill AVS, McShane H, Kaufmann SHE. 2011. Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of Prime-Boost Regimens with Recombinant Delta ureC hly(+) Mycobacterium bovis BCG and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Expressing M. tuberculosis Antigen 85A against Murine Tuberculosis, (vol 77, pg 630, 2009) INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 79 (5), pp. 2133-2133. | Read more

Goodman AL, Epp C, Moss D, Holder AA, Wilson JM, Gao GP, Long CA, Remarque EJ, Thomas AW, Ammendola V et al. 2011. New Candidate Vaccines against Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparum Malaria: Prime-Boost Immunization Regimens Incorporating Human and Simian Adenoviral Vectors and Poxviral Vectors Expressing an Optimized Antigen Based on Merozoite Surface Protein 1, (vol 78, pg 4610, 2010) INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 79 (5), pp. 2132-2132. | Read more

Reyes-Sandoval A, Berthoud T, Alder N, Siani L, Gilbert SC, Nicosia A, Colloca S, Cortese R, Hill AVS. 2011. Prime-Boost Immunization with Adenoviral and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Vectors Enhances the Durability and Polyfunctionality of Protective Malaria CD8(+) T-Cell Responses, (vol 78, pg 152, 2010) INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 79 (5), pp. 2131-2131. | Read more

Douglas AD, Andrews L, Draper SJ, Bojang K, Milligan P, Gilbert SC, Imoukhuede EB, Hill AV. 2011. Substantially reduced pre-patent parasite multiplication rates are associated with naturally acquired immunity to Plasmodium falciparum. J Infect Dis, 203 (9), pp. 1337-1340. | Show Abstract | Read more

Naturally acquired immunity to Plasmodium falciparum's asexual blood stage reduces parasite multiplication at microscopically detectable densities. The effect of natural immunity on initial prepatent parasite multiplication during the period following a new infection has been uncertain, contributing to doubt regarding the utility of experimental challenge models for blood-stage vaccine trials. Here we present data revealing that parasite multiplication rates during the initial prepatent period in semi-immune Gambian adults are substantially lower than in malaria-naive participants. This supports the view that a blood-stage vaccine capable of emulating the disease-reducing effect of natural immunity could achieve a detectable effect during the prepatent period.

Rollier CS, Reyes-Sandoval A, Cottingham MG, Ewer K, Hill AV. 2011. Viral vectors as vaccine platforms: deployment in sight. Curr Opin Immunol, 23 (3), pp. 377-382. | Show Abstract | Read more

A little more than a decade after the explosion of research into recombinant live-attenuated or replication-deficient viruses as vaccine platforms, many viral vector-based vaccines have been licensed for animals. Progress has been slower for humans but 2011 will see the licensure of the first viral-vectored vaccine for humans, against Japanese Encephalitis. In addition a vaccine with a viral-vectored component showed efficacy against HIV infection in humans. Viral-based vaccines have an excellent safety profile but must deal with the potential problem of pre-existing anti-vector immunity. Recent successes reflect diverse improvements such as development of new adenovirus serotypes and better prime-boost approaches, suggesting that many viral vectors are approaching their final years as vaccine 'candidates' rather than vaccines.

Porter DW, Thompson FM, Berthoud TK, Hutchings CL, Andrews L, Biswas S, Poulton I, Prieur E, Correa S, Rowland R et al. 2011. A human Phase I/IIa malaria challenge trial of a polyprotein malaria vaccine. Vaccine, 29 (43), pp. 7514-7522. | Show Abstract | Read more

We examined the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of a prime-boost vaccination regime involving two poxvirus malaria subunit vaccines, FP9-PP and MVA-PP, expressing the same polyprotein consisting of six pre-erythrocytic antigens from Plasmodium falciparum. Following safety assessment of single doses, 15 volunteers received a heterologous prime-boost vaccination regime and underwent malaria sporozoite challenge. The vaccines were safe but interferon-γ ELISPOT responses were low compared to other poxvirus vectors, despite targeting multiple antigens. There was no vaccine efficacy as measured by delay in time to parasitaemia. A number of possible explanations are discussed, including the very large insert size of the polyprotein transgene.

Draper SJ, Goodman AL, Biswas S, Forbes EK, Moore AC, Gilbert SC, Hill AVS. 2011. Recombinant Viral Vaccines Expressing Merozoite Surface Protein-1 Induce Antibody- and T Cell-Mediated Multistage Protection against Malaria (vol 5, pg 95, 2009) CELL HOST & MICROBE, 9 (3), pp. 252-252. | Read more




Sheehy SH, Duncan CJA, Elias SC, Collins KA, Ewer KJ, Spencer AJ, Williams AR, Halstead FD, Moretz SE, Miura K et al. 2011. Phase Ia clinical evaluation of the plasmodium falciparum blood-stage antigen MSP1 in ChAd63 and MVA vaccine vectors Molecular Therapy, 19 (12), pp. 2269-2276. | Read more

Duncan CJA, Hill AVS. 2011. What is the efficacy of the RTS,S malaria vaccine? BMJ (Online), 343 (7836), pp. 1255. | Read more

Goodman AL, Blagborough AM, Biswas S, Wu Y, Hill AV, Sinden RE, Draper SJ. 2011. A viral vectored prime-boost immunization regime targeting the malaria Pfs25 antigen induces transmission-blocking activity. PLoS One, 6 (12), pp. e29428. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ookinete surface protein Pfs25 is a macrogamete-to-ookinete/ookinete stage antigen of Plasmodium falciparum, capable of exerting high-level anti-malarial transmission-blocking activity following immunization with recombinant protein-in-adjuvant formulations. Here, this antigen was expressed in recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63), human adenovirus serotype 5 (AdHu5) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) viral vectored vaccines. Two immunizations were administered to mice in a heterologous prime-boost regime. Immunization of mice with AdHu5 Pfs25 at week 0 and MVA Pfs25 at week 10 (Ad-MVA Pfs25) resulted in high anti-Pfs25 IgG titers, consisting of predominantly isotypes IgG1 and IgG2a. A single priming immunization with ChAd63 Pfs25 was as effective as AdHu5 Pfs25 with respect to ELISA titers at 8 weeks post-immunization. Sera from Ad-MVA Pfs25 immunized mice inhibited the transmission of P. falciparum to the mosquito both ex vivo and in vivo. In a standard membrane-feeding assay using NF54 strain P. falciparum, oocyst intensity in Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes was significantly reduced in an IgG concentration-dependent manner when compared to control feeds (96% reduction of intensity, 78% reduction in prevalence at a 1 in 5 dilution of sera). In addition, an in vivo transmission-blocking effect was also demonstrated by direct feeding of immunized mice infected with Pfs25DR3, a chimeric P. berghei line expressing Pfs25 in place of endogenous Pbs25. In this assay the density of Pfs25DR3 oocysts was significantly reduced when mosquitoes were fed on vaccinated as compared to control mice (67% reduction of intensity, 28% reduction in prevalence) and specific IgG titer correlated with efficacy. These data confirm the utility of the adenovirus-MVA vaccine platform for the induction of antibodies with transmission-blocking activity, and support the continued development of this alternative approach to transmission-blocking malaria subunit vaccines.

Duncan CJ, Hill AV. 2011. What is the efficacy of the RTS,S malaria vaccine? BMJ, 343 pp. d7728.

Douglas AD, Williams AR, Illingworth JJ, Kamuyu G, Biswas S, Goodman AL, Wyllie DH, Crosnier C, Miura K, Wright GJ et al. 2011. The blood-stage malaria antigen PfRH5 is susceptible to vaccine-inducible cross-strain neutralizing antibody. Nat Commun, 2 (1), pp. 601. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current vaccine strategies against the asexual blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum are mostly focused on well-studied merozoite antigens that induce immune responses after natural exposure, but have yet to induce robust protection in any clinical trial. Here we compare human-compatible viral-vectored vaccines targeting ten different blood-stage antigens. We show that the full-length P. falciparum reticulocyte-binding protein homologue 5 (PfRH5) is highly susceptible to cross-strain neutralizing vaccine-induced antibodies, out-performing all other antigens delivered by the same vaccine platform. We find that, despite being susceptible to antibody, PfRH5 is unlikely to be under substantial immune selection pressure; there is minimal acquisition of anti-PfRH5 IgG antibodies in malaria-exposed Kenyans. These data challenge the widespread beliefs that any merozoite antigen that is highly susceptible to immune attack would be subject to significant levels of antigenic polymorphism, and that erythrocyte invasion by P. falciparum is a degenerate process involving a series of parallel redundant pathways.

Cottingham MG, Carroll F, Morris SJ, Turner AV, Vaughan AM, Kapulu MC, Colloca S, Siani L, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2011. Preventing spontaneous genetic rearrangements in the transgene cassettes of adenovirus vectors Biotechnology and Bioengineering,

Thøgersen RL, Holder AA, Hill AV, Arnot DE, Imoukhuede EB, Leroy O. 2011. Comparative decline in funding of European Commission malaria vaccine projects: What next for the European scientists working in this field? Malaria Journal, 10 | Read more

Checkley AM, Wyllie DH, Scriba TJ, Golubchik T, Hill AV, Hanekom WA, McShane H. 2011. Identification of antigens specific to non-tuberculous mycobacteria: the Mce family of proteins as a target of T cell immune responses. PLoS One, 6 (10), pp. e26434. | Show Abstract | Read more

The lack of an effective TB vaccine hinders current efforts in combating the TB pandemic. One theory as to why BCG is less protective in tropical countries is that exposure to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) reduces BCG efficacy. There are currently several new TB vaccines in clinical trials, and NTM exposure may also be relevant in this context. NTM exposure cannot be accurately evaluated in the absence of specific antigens; those which are known to be present in NTM and absent from M. tuberculosis and BCG. We therefore used a bioinformatic pipeline to define proteins which are present in common NTM and absent from the M. tuberculosis complex, using protein BLAST, TBLASTN and a short sequence protein BLAST to ensure the specificity of this process. We then assessed immune responses to these proteins, in healthy South Africans and in patients from the United Kingdom and United States with documented exposure to NTM. Low level responses were detected to a cluster of proteins from the mammalian cell entry family, and to a cluster of hypothetical proteins, using ex vivo ELISpot and a 6 day proliferation assay. These early findings may provide a basis for characterising exposure to NTM at a population level, which has applications in the field of TB vaccine design as well as in the development of diagnostic tests.




Porter DW, Thompson FM, Berthoud TK, Hutchings CL, Andrews L, Biswas S, Poulton I, Prieur E, Correa S, Rowland R et al. 2011. A human phase I/IIa malaria challenge trial of a polyprotein malaria vaccine Vaccine, 29 (43), pp. 7514-7522. | Read more

Greenwood B, Salisbury D, Hill AVS. 2011. Vaccines and global health Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366 (1579), pp. 2733-2742. | Read more




Hill AVS. 2011. Vaccines against malaria Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366 (1579), pp. 2806-2814. | Read more

Griffiths KL, Pathan AA, Minassian AM, Sander CR, Beveridge NE, Hill AV, Fletcher HA, McShane H. 2011. Th1/Th17 cell induction and corresponding reduction in ATP consumption following vaccination with the novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis vaccine MVA85A. PLoS One, 6 (8), pp. e23463. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination with Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has traditionally been used for protection against disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). The efficacy of BCG, especially against pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is variable. The best protection is conferred in temperate climates and there is close to zero protection in many tropical areas with a high prevalence of both tuberculous and non-tuberculous mycobacterial species. Although interferon (IFN)-γ is known to be important in protection against TB disease, data is emerging on a possible role for interleukin (IL)-17 as a key cytokine in both murine and bovine TB vaccine studies, as well as in humans. Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara expressing Antigen 85A (MVA85A) is a novel TB vaccine designed to enhance responses induced by BCG. Antigen-specific IFN-γ production has already been shown to peak one week post-MVA85A vaccination, and an inverse relationship between IL-17-producing cells and regulatory T cells expressing the ectonucleosidease CD39, which metabolises pro-inflammatory extracellular ATP has previously been described. This paper explores this relationship and finds that consumption of extracellular ATP by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from MVA85A-vaccinated subjects drops two weeks post-vaccination, corresponding to a drop in the percentage of a regulatory T cell subset expressing the ectonucleosidase CD39. Also at this time point, we report a peak in co-production of IL-17 and IFN-γ by CD4(+) T cells. These results suggest a relationship between extracellular ATP and effector responses and unveil a possible pathway that could be targeted during vaccine design.




Reyes-Sandoval A, Wyllie DH, Bauza K, Milicic A, Forbes EK, Rollier CS, Hill AVS. 2011. CD8+ T effector memory cells protect against liver-stage malaria Journal of Immunology, 187 (3), pp. 1347-1357. | Read more

Bregu M, Draper SJ, Hill AV, Greenwood BM. 2011. Accelerating vaccine development and deployment: report of a Royal Society satellite meeting. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 366 (1579), pp. 2841-2849. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Royal Society convened a meeting on the 17th and 18th November 2010 to review the current ways in which vaccines are developed and deployed, and to make recommendations as to how each of these processes might be accelerated. The meeting brought together academics, industry representatives, research sponsors, regulators, government advisors and representatives of international public health agencies from a broad geographical background. Discussions were held under Chatham House rules. High-throughput screening of new vaccine antigens and candidates was seen as a driving force for vaccine discovery. Multi-stakeholder, small-scale manufacturing facilities capable of rapid production of clinical grade vaccines are currently too few and need to be expanded. In both the human and veterinary areas, there is a need for tiered regulatory standards, differentially tailored for experimental and commercial vaccines, to allow accelerated vaccine efficacy testing. Improved cross-fertilization of knowledge between industry and academia, and between human and veterinary vaccine developers, could lead to more rapid application of promising approaches and technologies to new product development. Identification of best-practices and development of checklists for product development plans and implementation programmes were seen as low-cost opportunities to shorten the timeline for vaccine progression from the laboratory bench to the people who need it.

Duncan CJ, Sheehy SH, Ewer KJ, Douglas AD, Collins KA, Halstead FD, Elias SC, Lillie PJ, Rausch K, Aebig J et al. 2011. Impact on malaria parasite multiplication rates in infected volunteers of the protein-in-adjuvant vaccine AMA1-C1/Alhydrogel+CPG 7909. PLoS One, 6 (7), pp. e22271. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Inhibition of parasite growth is a major objective of blood-stage malaria vaccines. The in vitro assay of parasite growth inhibitory activity (GIA) is widely used as a surrogate marker for malaria vaccine efficacy in the down-selection of candidate blood-stage vaccines. Here we report the first study to examine the relationship between in vivo Plasmodium falciparum growth rates and in vitro GIA in humans experimentally infected with blood-stage malaria. METHODS: In this phase I/IIa open-label clinical trial five healthy malaria-naive volunteers were immunised with AMA1/C1-Alhydrogel+CPG 7909, and together with three unvaccinated controls were challenged by intravenous inoculation of P. falciparum infected erythrocytes. RESULTS: A significant correlation was observed between parasite multiplication rate in 48 hours (PMR) and both vaccine-induced growth-inhibitory activity (Pearson r = -0.93 [95% CI: -1.0, -0.27] P = 0.02) and AMA1 antibody titres in the vaccine group (Pearson r = -0.93 [95% CI: -0.99, -0.25] P = 0.02). However immunisation failed to reduce overall mean PMR in the vaccine group in comparison to the controls (vaccinee 16 fold [95% CI: 12, 22], control 17 fold [CI: 0, 65] P = 0.70). Therefore no impact on pre-patent period was observed (vaccine group median 8.5 days [range 7.5-9], control group median 9 days [range 7-9]). CONCLUSIONS: Despite the first observation in human experimental malaria infection of a significant association between vaccine-induced in vitro growth inhibitory activity and in vivo parasite multiplication rate, this did not translate into any observable clinically relevant vaccine effect in this small group of volunteers. TRIAL REGISTRATION: [NCT00984763].




Ota MOC, Odutola AA, Owiafe PK, Donkor S, Owolabi OA, Brittain NJ, Williams N, Rowland-Jones S, Hill AVS, Adegbola RA, McShane H. 2011. Immunogenicity of the Tuberculosis Vaccine MVA85A Is Reduced by Coadministration with EPI Vaccines in a Randomized Controlled Trial in Gambian Infants SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE, 3 (88), pp. 88ra56-88ra56. | Read more




Rollier CS, Reyes-Sandoval A, Cottingham MG, Ewer K, Hill AVS. 2011. Viral vectors as vaccine platforms: Deployment in sight Current Opinion in Immunology, 23 (3), pp. 377-382. | Read more

Biswas S, Dicks MD, Long CA, Remarque EJ, Siani L, Colloca S, Cottingham MG, Holder AA, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Draper SJ. 2011. Transgene optimization, immunogenicity and in vitro efficacy of viral vectored vaccines expressing two alleles of Plasmodium falciparum AMA1. PLoS One, 6 (6), pp. e20977. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) is a leading candidate vaccine antigen against blood-stage malaria, although to date numerous clinical trials using mainly protein-in-adjuvant vaccines have shown limited success. Here we describe the pre-clinical development and optimization of recombinant human and simian adenoviral (AdHu5 and ChAd63) and orthopoxviral (MVA) vectors encoding transgene inserts for Plasmodium falciparum AMA1 (PfAMA1). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: AdHu5-MVA prime-boost vaccination in mice and rabbits using these vectors encoding the 3D7 allele of PfAMA1 induced cellular immune responses as well as high-titer antibodies that showed growth inhibitory activity (GIA) against the homologous but not heterologous parasite strains. In an effort to overcome the issues of PfAMA1 antigenic polymorphism and pre-existing immunity to AdHu5, a simian adenoviral (ChAd63) vector and MVA encoding two alleles of PfAMA1 were developed. This antigen, composed of the 3D7 and FVO alleles of PfAMA1 fused in tandem and with expression driven by a single promoter, was optimized for antigen secretion and transmembrane expression. These bi-allelic PfAMA1 vaccines, when administered to mice and rabbits, demonstrated comparable immunogenicity to the mono-allelic vaccines and purified serum IgG now showed GIA against the two divergent strains of P. falciparum encoded in the vaccine. CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses against epitopes that were both common and unique to the two alleles of PfAMA1 were also measured in mice. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Optimized transgene inserts encoding two divergent alleles of the same antigen can be successfully inserted into adeno- and pox-viral vaccine vectors. Adenovirus-MVA immunization leads to the induction of T cell responses common to both alleles, as well as functional antibody responses that are effective against both of the encoded strains of P. falciparum in vitro. These data support the further clinical development of these vaccine candidates in Phase I/IIa clinical trials.

Tchilian EZ, Desel C, Forbes EK, Bandermann S, Sander CR, Hill AVS, McShane H, Kaufmann SHE. 2011. Erratum: Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of prime-boost regimens with recombinant δureC hly+ Mycobacterium bovis BCG and modified Vaccinia virus Ankara expressing M. tuberculosis antigen 85A against murine tuberculosis Infection and Immunity, 79 (5), pp. 2133. | Read more

Reyes-Sandoval A, Berthoud T, Alder N, Siani L, Gilbert SC, Nicosia A, Colloca S, Cortese R, Hill AVS. 2011. Erratum: Prime-boost immunization with adenoviral and modified vaccinia virus ankara vectors enhances the durability and polyfunctionality of protective malaria CD8+ T-cell responses Infection and Immunity, 79 (5), pp. 2131. | Read more

Vordermeier HM, Villarreal-Ramos B, Cockle PJ, McAulay M, Rhodes SG, Thacker T, Gilbert SC, McShane H, Hill AVS, Xing Z, Glyn Hewinson R. 2011. Erratum: Viral booster vaccines improve mycobacterium bovis BCG-induced protection against bovine tuberculosis Infection and Immunity, 79 (5), pp. 2134. | Read more

Berthoud TK, Dunachie SJ, Todryk S, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2011. Corrigendum to “MIG (CXCL9) is a more sensitive measure than IFN-γ of vaccine induced T-cell responses in volunteers receiving investigated malaria vaccines” [J. Immunol. Methods 340 (2009) 33–41] Journal of Immunological Methods, 368 (1-2), pp. 84-84. | Read more

Minassian AM, Ronan EO, Poyntz H, Hill AV, McShane H. 2011. Preclinical development of an in vivo BCG challenge model for testing candidate TB vaccine efficacy. PLoS One, 6 (5), pp. e19840. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for an immunological correlate of protection against tuberculosis (TB) with which to evaluate candidate TB vaccines in clinical trials. Development of a human challenge model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) could facilitate the detection of such correlate(s). Here we propose a novel in vivo Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) challenge model using BCG immunization as a surrogate for M.tb infection. Culture and quantitative PCR methods have been developed to quantify BCG in the skin, using the mouse ear as a surrogate for human skin. Candidate TB vaccines have been evaluated for their ability to protect against a BCG skin challenge, using this model, and the results indicate that protection against a BCG skin challenge is predictive of BCG vaccine efficacy against aerosol M.tb challenge. Translation of these findings to a human BCG challenge model could enable more rapid assessment and down selection of candidate TB vaccines and ultimately the identification of an immune correlate of protection.

de Cassan SC, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Minassian A, Rowland R, Hill AVS, McShane H, Fletcher HA. 2011. Investigating the Induction of Vaccine-Induced Th17 and Regulatory T Cells in Healthy, Mycobacterium bovis BCG Immunized Adults Vaccinated with a New Tuberculosis Vaccine, MVA85A (vol 17, pg 1066, 2010) CLINICAL AND VACCINE IMMUNOLOGY, 18 (4), pp. 696-696. | Read more

Berthoud TK, Dunachie SJ, Todryk S, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2011. Corrigendum to "MIG (CXCL9) is a more sensitive measure than IFN-γ of vaccine induced T-cell responses in volunteers receiving investigated malaria vaccines" [J. Immunol. Methods 340 (2009) 33-41] (DOI:10.1016/j.jim.2008.09.021) Journal of Immunological Methods,

Berthoud TK, Hamill M, Lillie PJ, Hwenda L, Collins KA, Ewer KJ, Milicic A, Poyntz HC, Lambe T, Fletcher HA et al. 2011. Potent CD8+ T-cell immunogenicity in humans of a novel heterosubtypic influenza A vaccine, MVA-NP+M1. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (1), pp. 1-7. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Influenza A viruses cause occasional pandemics and frequent epidemics. Licensed influenza vaccines that induce high antibody titers to the highly polymorphic viral surface antigen hemagglutinin must be re-formulated and readministered annually. A vaccine providing protective immunity to the highly conserved internal antigens could provide longer-lasting protection against multiple influenza subtypes. METHODS: We prepared a Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector encoding nucleoprotein and matrix protein 1 (MVA-NP+M1) and conducted a phase I clinical trial in healthy adults. RESULTS: The vaccine was generally safe and well tolerated, with significantly fewer local side effects after intramuscular rather than intradermal administration. Systemic side effects increased at the higher dose in both frequency and severity, with 5 out of 8 volunteers experiencing severe nausea/vomiting, malaise, or rigors. Ex vivo T-cell responses to NP and M1 measured by IFN-γ ELISPOT assay were significantly increased after vaccination (prevaccination median of 123 spot-forming units/million peripheral blood mononuclear cells, postvaccination peak response median 339, 443, and 1443 in low-dose intradermal, low-dose intramuscular, and high-dose intramuscular groups, respectively), and the majority of the antigen-specific T cells were CD8(+). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the vaccine was both safe and remarkably immunogenic, leading to frequencies of responding T cells that appear to be much higher than those induced by any other influenza vaccination approach. Further studies will be required to find the optimum dose and to assess whether the increased T-cell response to conserved influenza proteins results in protection from influenza disease.

Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Rautanen A, Walley A, Segal S, Moore CE, Davies RJ, Day NP, Peshu N et al. 2010. Common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms and susceptibility to pneumococcal disease: a genetic association study. Crit Care, 14 (6), pp. R227. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Streptococcus pneumoniae remains a major global health problem and a leading cause of death in children worldwide. The factors that influence development of pneumococcal sepsis remain poorly understood, although increasing evidence points towards a role for genetic variation in the host's immune response. Recent insights from the study of animal models, rare human primary immunodeficiency states, and population-based genetic epidemiology have focused attention on the role of the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB in pneumococcal disease pathogenesis. The possible role of genetic variation in the atypical NF-κB inhibitor IκB-R, encoded by NFKBIL2, in susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease has not, to our knowledge, previously been reported upon. METHODS: An association study was performed examining the frequencies of nine common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms in two invasive pneumococcal disease case-control groups: European individuals from hospitals in Oxfordshire, UK (275 patients and 733 controls), and African individuals from Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya (687 patients with bacteraemia, of which 173 patients had pneumococcal disease, together with 550 controls). RESULTS: Five polymorphisms significantly associated with invasive pneumococcal disease susceptibility in the European study, of which two polymorphisms also associated with disease in African individuals. Heterozygosity at these loci was associated with protection from invasive pneumococcal disease (rs760477, Mantel-Haenszel 2 × 2 χ(2) = 11.797, P = 0.0006, odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval = 0.53 to 0.84; rs4925858, Mantel-Haenszel 2 × 2 χ(2) = 9.104, P = 0.003, odds ratio = 0.70, 95% confidence interval = 0.55 to 0.88). Linkage disequilibrium was more extensive in European individuals than in Kenyans. CONCLUSIONS: Common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease in European and African populations. These findings further highlight the importance of control of NF-κB in host defence against pneumococcal disease.

Draper SJ, Biswas S, Spencer AJ, Remarque EJ, Capone S, Naddeo M, Dicks MD, Faber BW, de Cassan SC, Folgori A et al. 2010. Enhancing blood-stage malaria subunit vaccine immunogenicity in rhesus macaques by combining adenovirus, poxvirus, and protein-in-adjuvant vaccines. J Immunol, 185 (12), pp. 7583-7595. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protein-in-adjuvant formulations and viral-vectored vaccines encoding blood-stage malaria Ags have shown efficacy in rodent malaria models and in vitro assays against Plasmodium falciparum. Abs and CD4(+) T cell responses are associated with protective efficacy against blood-stage malaria, whereas CD8(+) T cells against some classical blood-stage Ags can also have a protective effect against liver-stage parasites. No subunit vaccine strategy alone has generated demonstrable high-level efficacy against blood-stage infection in clinical trials. The induction of high-level Ab responses, as well as potent T and B cell effector and memory populations, is likely to be essential to achieve immediate and sustained protective efficacy in humans. This study describes in detail the immunogenicity of vaccines against P. falciparum apical membrane Ag 1 in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), including the chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (AdCh63), the poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), and protein vaccines formulated in Alhydrogel or CoVaccine HT adjuvants. AdCh63-MVA heterologous prime-boost immunization induces strong and long-lasting multifunctional CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses that exhibit a central memory-like phenotype. Three-shot (AdCh63-MVA-protein) or two-shot (AdCh63-protein) regimens induce memory B cells and high-titer functional IgG responses that inhibit the growth of two divergent strains of P. falciparum in vitro. Prior immunization with adenoviral vectors of alternative human or simian serotype does not affect the immunogenicity of the AdCh63 apical membrane Ag 1 vaccine. These data encourage the further clinical development and coadministration of protein and viral vector vaccine platforms in an attempt to induce broad cellular and humoral immune responses against blood-stage malaria Ags in humans.

Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Hill AVS. 2010. CISH and Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases REPLY NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 363 (17), pp. 1676-1677.

Douglas AD, de Cassan SC, Dicks MD, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Draper SJ. 2010. Tailoring subunit vaccine immunogenicity: maximizing antibody and T cell responses by using combinations of adenovirus, poxvirus and protein-adjuvant vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum MSP1. Vaccine, 28 (44), pp. 7167-7178. | Show Abstract | Read more

Subunit vaccination modalities tend to induce particular immune effector responses. Viral vectors are well known for their ability to induce strong T cell responses, while protein-adjuvant vaccines have been used primarily for induction of antibody responses. Here, we demonstrate in mice using a Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 (PfMSP1) antigen that novel regimes combining adenovirus and poxvirus vectored vaccines with protein antigen in Montanide ISA720 adjuvant can achieve simultaneous antibody and T cell responses which equal, or in some cases surpass, the best immune responses achieved by either the viral vectors or the protein vaccine alone. Such broad responses can be achieved either using three-stage vaccination protocols, or with an equally effective two-stage protocol in which viral vectors are admixed with protein and adjuvant, and were apparent despite the use of a protein antigen that represented only a portion of the viral vector antigen. We describe further possible advantages of viral vectors in achieving consistent antibody priming, enhanced antibody avidity, and cytophilic isotype skew. These data strengthen the evidence that tailored combinations of vaccine platforms can achieve desired combinations of immune responses, and further encourage the co-administration of antibody-inducing recombinant protein vaccines with T cell- and antibody-inducing recombinant viral vectors as one strategy that may achieve protective blood-stage malaria immunity in humans.

Hennig BJ, Velez-Edwards DR, Schim van der Loeff MF, Bisseye C, Edwards TL, Tacconelli A, Novelli G, Aaby P, Kaye S, Scott WK et al. 2011. CD4 intragenic SNPs associate with HIV-2 plasma viral load and CD4 count in a community-based study from Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 56 (1), pp. 1-8. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: The human genetics of HIV-2 infection and disease progression is understudied. Therefore, we studied the effect of variation in 2 genes that encode products critical to HIV pathogenesis and disease progression: CD4 and CD209. DESIGN: This cross-sectional study consisted of 143 HIV-2, 30 HIV-1 + HIV-2 and 29 HIV-1-infected subjects and 194 uninfected controls recruited from rural Guinea-Bissau. METHODS: We genotyped 14 CD4 and 4 CD209 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were tested for association with HIV infection, HIV-2 plasma viral load (high vs. low), and CD4 T-cell count (high vs. low). RESULTS: The most significant association was between a CD4 haplotype rs11575097-rs10849523 and high viral load [odds ratio (OR): = 2.37, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.35 to 4.19, P = 0.001, corrected for multiple testing], suggesting increased genetic susceptibility to HIV-2 disease progression for individuals carrying the high-risk haplotype. Significant associations were also observed at a CD4 SNP (rs2255301) with HIV-2 infection (OR: = 2.36, 95% CI: 1.19 to 4.65, P = 0.01) and any HIV infection (OR: = 2.50, 95% CI: 1.34 to 4.69, P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support a role of CD4 polymorphisms in HIV-2 infection, in agreement with recent data showing that CD4 gene variants increase risk to HIV-1 in Kenyan female sex workers. These findings indicate at least some commonality in HIV-1 and HIV-2 susceptibility.

Thye T, Vannberg FO, Wong SH, Owusu-Dabo E, Osei I, Gyapong J, Sirugo G, Sisay-Joof F, Enimil A, Chinbuah MA et al. 2010. Genome-wide association analyses identifies a susceptibility locus for tuberculosis on chromosome 18q11.2. Nat Genet, 42 (9), pp. 739-741. | Show Abstract | Read more

We combined two tuberculosis genome-wide association studies from Ghana and The Gambia with subsequent replication in a combined 11,425 individuals. rs4331426, located in a gene-poor region on chromosome 18q11.2, was associated with disease (combined P = 6.8 x 10(-9), odds ratio = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.13-1.27). Our study demonstrates that genome-wide association studies can identify new susceptibility loci for infectious diseases, even in African populations, in which levels of linkage disequilibrium are particularly low.

Ryckman KK, Fielding K, Hill AV, Mendy M, Rayco-Solon P, Sirugo G, van der Sande MA, Waight P, Whittle HC, Hall AJ et al. 2010. Host genetic factors and vaccine-induced immunity to HBV infection: haplotype analysis. PLoS One, 5 (8), pp. e12273. | Show Abstract | Read more

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a significant health burden world-wide, although vaccines help decrease this problem. We previously identified associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms in several candidate genes with vaccine-induced peak antibody level (anti-HBs), which is predictive of long-term vaccine efficacy and protection against infection and persistent carriage; here we report on a haplotype-based analysis. A total of 688 SNPs from 117 genes were examined for a two, three and four sliding window haplotype analysis in a Gambian cohort. Analysis was performed on 197 unrelated individuals, 454 individuals from 174 families, and the combined sample (N = 651). Global and individual haplotype association tests were carried out (adjusted for covariates), employing peak anti-HBs level as outcome. Five genes (CD44, CD58, CDC42, IL19 and IL1R1) had at least one significant haplotype in the unrelated or family analysis as well as the combined analysis. Previous single locus results were confirmed for CD44 (combined global p = 9.1x10(-5) for rs353644-rs353630-rs7937602) and CD58 (combined global p = 0.008 for rs1414275-rs11588376-rs1016140). Haplotypes in CDC42, IL19 and IL1R1 also associated with peak anti-HBs level. We have identified strong haplotype effects on HBV vaccine-induced antibody level in five genes, three of which, CDC42, IL19 and IL1R1, did not show evidence of association in a single SNP analyses and corroborated the majority of these effects in two datasets. The haplotype analysis identified associations with HBV vaccine-induced immunity in several new genes.

Goodman AL, Epp C, Moss D, Holder AA, Wilson JM, Gao GP, Long CA, Remarque EJ, Thomas AW, Ammendola V et al. 2010. New candidate vaccines against blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria: prime-boost immunization regimens incorporating human and simian adenoviral vectors and poxviral vectors expressing an optimized antigen based on merozoite surface protein 1. Infect Immun, 78 (11), pp. 4601-4612. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1) is a leading candidate vaccine antigen for blood-stage malaria, its efficacy in clinical trials has been limited in part by antigenic polymorphism and potentially by the inability of protein-in-adjuvant vaccines to induce strong cellular immunity. Here we report the design of novel vectored Plasmodium falciparum vaccines capable of overcoming such limitations. We optimized an antigenic insert comprising the four conserved blocks of MSP-1 fused to tandemly arranged sequences that represent both allelic forms of the dimorphic 42-kDa C-terminal region. Inserts were expressed by adenoviral and poxviral vectors and employed in heterologous prime-boost regimens. Simian adenoviral vectors were used in an effort to circumvent preexisting immunity to human adenoviruses. In preclinical studies these vaccines induced potent cellular immune responses and high-titer antibodies directed against MSP-1. The antibodies induced were found to have growth-inhibitory activity against dimorphic allelic families of P. falciparum. These vectored vaccines should allow assessment in humans of the safety and efficacy of inducing strong cellular as well as cross-strain humoral immunity to P. falciparum MSP-1.

Sharpe SA, McShane H, Dennis MJ, Basaraba RJ, Gleeson F, Hall G, McIntyre A, Gooch K, Clark S, Beveridge NE et al. 2010. Establishment of an aerosol challenge model of tuberculosis in rhesus macaques and an evaluation of endpoints for vaccine testing. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 17 (8), pp. 1170-1182. | Show Abstract | Read more

The establishment of an aerosol challenge model in nonhuman primates (NHPs) for the testing of vaccines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis would assist the global effort to optimize novel vaccination strategies. The endpoints used in preclinical challenge studies to identify measures of disease burden need to be accurate and sensitive enough to distinguish subtle differences and benefits afforded by different tuberculosis (TB) vaccine regimens when group sizes are inevitably small. This study sought to assess clinical and nonclinical endpoints as potentially sensitive measures of disease burden in a challenge study with rhesus macaques by using a new protocol of aerosol administration of M. tuberculosis. Immunological and clinical readouts were assessed for utility in vaccine evaluation studies. This is the first example of TB vaccine evaluation with rhesus macaques where long-term survival was one of the primary endpoints. However, we found that in NHP vaccine efficacy studies with maximum group sizes of six animals, survival did not provide a valuable endpoint. Two approaches used in human clinical trials for the evaluation of the gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) response to vaccination (enzyme-linked immunospot [ELISpot] assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]) were included in this study. The IFN-gamma profiles induced following vaccination were found not to correlate with protection, nor did the level of purified protein derivative (PPD)-specific proliferation. The only readout to reliably distinguish vaccinated and unvaccinated NHPs was the determination of lung lesion burden using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging combined with stereology at the end of the study. Therefore, the currently proposed key markers were not shown to correlate with protection, and only imaging offered a potentially reliable correlate.

Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Chapman SJ, Guo H, Wong SH, Walley AJ, Vukcevic D, Rautanen A, Mills TC, Chang KC et al. 2010. CISH and susceptibility to infectious diseases. N Engl J Med, 362 (22), pp. 2092-2101. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The interleukin-2-mediated immune response is critical for host defense against infectious pathogens. Cytokine-inducible SRC homology 2 (SH2) domain protein (CISH), a suppressor of cytokine signaling, controls interleukin-2 signaling. METHODS: Using a case-control design, we tested for an association between CISH polymorphisms and susceptibility to major infectious diseases (bacteremia, tuberculosis, and severe malaria) in blood samples from 8402 persons in Gambia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malawi, and Vietnam. We had previously tested 20 other immune-related genes in one or more of these sample collections. RESULTS: We observed associations between variant alleles of multiple CISH polymorphisms and increased susceptibility to each infectious disease in each of the study populations. When all five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (at positions -639, -292, -163, +1320, and +3415 [all relative to CISH]) within the CISH-associated locus were considered together in a multiple-SNP score, we found an association between CISH genetic variants and susceptibility to bacteremia, malaria, and tuberculosis (P=3.8x10(-11) for all comparisons), with -292 accounting for most of the association signal (P=4.58x10(-7)). Peripheral-blood mononuclear cells obtained from adult subjects carrying the -292 variant, as compared with wild-type cells, showed a muted response to the stimulation of interleukin-2 production--that is, 25 to 40% less CISH expression. CONCLUSIONS: Variants of CISH are associated with susceptibility to diseases caused by diverse infectious pathogens, suggesting that negative regulators of cytokine signaling have a role in immunity against various infectious diseases. The overall risk of one of these infectious diseases was increased by at least 18% among persons carrying the variant CISH alleles.

de Cassan SC, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Minassian A, Rowland R, Hill AV, McShane H, Fletcher HA. 2010. Investigating the induction of vaccine-induced Th17 and regulatory T cells in healthy, Mycobacterium bovis BCG-immunized adults vaccinated with a new tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 17 (7), pp. 1066-1073. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a threat to global health. While advances in diagnostics and treatment are crucial to the containment of the epidemic, it is likely that elimination of the disease can only be achieved through vaccination. Vaccine-induced protection from Mycobacterium tuberculosis is dependent, at least in part, on a robust Th1 response, yet little is known of the ability of TB vaccines to induce other T-cell subsets which may influence vaccine efficacy. Interleukin-17A (IL-17A) is a proinflammatory cytokine produced by Th17 cells which has been associated with both immune pathology and protection against infectious disease. Following vaccination with MVA85A, a viral vector vaccine aimed at enhancing immune responses to M. tuberculosis, antigen-specific IL-17A-producing T cells were induced in the peripheral blood of healthy volunteers. These T cells are detected later than gamma interferon (IFN-gamma)-secreting T cells and are of a low magnitude. Preexisting immune responses to mycobacterial antigens were associated with higher CD4(+) CD25(hi) CD39(+) T-cell levels in the periphery and a reduced capacity to produce IL-17A following immunization. These data highlight the intricate balance of effector and regulatory immune responses induced by vaccination and that preexisting immunity to mycobacterial antigens may affect the composition of vaccine-induced T-cell subsets.

Wong SH, Vannberg FO, Spencer AJ, van der Weyden L, Hill AV, Wyllie DH. 2010. Comment on "CRTAM confers late-stage activation of CD8+ T cells to regulate retention within lymph node". J Immunol, 184 (8), pp. 4052-4053. | Read more

Wong SH, Hill AV, Vannberg FO, India-Africa-United Kingdom Leprosy Genetics Consortium. 2010. Genomewide association study of leprosy. N Engl J Med, 362 (15), pp. 1446-1447. | Read more

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Craddock N, Hurles ME, Cardin N, Pearson RD, Plagnol V, Robson S, Vukcevic D, Barnes C, Conrad DF et al. 2010. Genome-wide association study of CNVs in 16,000 cases of eight common diseases and 3,000 shared controls. Nature, 464 (7289), pp. 713-720. | Show Abstract | Read more

Copy number variants (CNVs) account for a major proportion of human genetic polymorphism and have been predicted to have an important role in genetic susceptibility to common disease. To address this we undertook a large, direct genome-wide study of association between CNVs and eight common human diseases. Using a purpose-designed array we typed approximately 19,000 individuals into distinct copy-number classes at 3,432 polymorphic CNVs, including an estimated approximately 50% of all common CNVs larger than 500 base pairs. We identified several biological artefacts that lead to false-positive associations, including systematic CNV differences between DNAs derived from blood and cell lines. Association testing and follow-up replication analyses confirmed three loci where CNVs were associated with disease-IRGM for Crohn's disease, HLA for Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, and TSPAN8 for type 2 diabetes-although in each case the locus had previously been identified in single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based studies, reflecting our observation that most common CNVs that are well-typed on our array are well tagged by SNPs and so have been indirectly explored through SNP studies. We conclude that common CNVs that can be typed on existing platforms are unlikely to contribute greatly to the genetic basis of common human diseases.

George J, Kubarenko AV, Rautanen A, Mills TC, Colak E, Kempf T, Hill AV, Nieters A, Weber AN. 2010. MyD88 adaptor-like D96N is a naturally occurring loss-of-function variant of TIRAP. J Immunol, 184 (6), pp. 3025-3032. | Show Abstract | Read more

Signals elicited by TLRs following the detection of microbes are integrated and diversified by a group of four cytoplasmic adaptor molecules featuring an evolutionarily conserved Toll/IL-1R signaling domain. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TLRs and their adaptor molecules have been shown to influence susceptibility to a range of infectious and other diseases. The adaptor MyD88 adaptor-like (Mal)/Toll/IL-1R-containing adaptor protein is involved in TLR2 and 4 signal transduction by recruiting another adaptor molecule, MyD88, to the plasma membrane. In this study, we used naturally occurring variants of Mal as tools to study the molecular biology of Mal in more detail in cellular model systems and to thereby identify functionally interesting variants whose corresponding nonsynonymous SNPs might be of further epidemiological interest. Of seven reported variants for Mal, we found Mal D96N associated with reduced NF-kappaB signaling and cytokine production after overexpression in HEK293 and Huh-7 cells. The D96N mutation prevented Mal from recruiting its signaling partner MyD88 to the plasma membrane and altered posttranslational modification of Mal. These findings led us to investigate the frequency of heterozygosity for the corresponding SNP rs8177400 in a Caucasian case-control study on the etiology of lymphoma, a disease in which TLRs have been implicated. Although rs8177400 did not modify lymphoma risk in general, its frequency of heterozygosity was accurately determined to 0.97%. Our data add rs8177400 (D96N) to the list of functionally important variants of Mal and warrant further research into its immunological, epidemiological, and diagnostic relevance.

Alcock R, Cottingham MG, Rollier CS, Furze J, De Costa SD, Hanlon M, Spencer AJ, Honeycutt JD, Wyllie DH, Gilbert SC et al. 2010. Long-term thermostabilization of live poxviral and adenoviral vaccine vectors at supraphysiological temperatures in carbohydrate glass. Sci Transl Med, 2 (19), pp. 19ra12. | Show Abstract | Read more

Live recombinant viral vectors based on adenoviruses and poxviruses are among the most promising platforms for development of new vaccines against diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV-AIDS. Vaccines based on live viruses must remain infectious to be effective, so therefore need continuous refrigeration to maintain stability and viability, a requirement that can be costly and difficult, especially in developing countries. The sugars sucrose and trehalose are commonly used as stabilizing agents and cryoprotectants for biological products. Here, we have exploited the ability of these sugars to vitrify on desiccation to develop a thermostabilization technique for live viral vaccine vectors. By slowly drying vaccines suspended in solutions of these disaccharide stabilizers onto a filter-like support membrane at ambient temperature, an ultrathin glass is deposited on the fibers of the inert matrix. Immobilization of two recombinant vaccine vectors-E1/E3-deleted human adenovirus type 5 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara-in this glass on the membranes enabled complete recovery of viral titer and immunogenicity after storage at up to 45 degrees C for 6 months and even longer with minimal losses. Furthermore, the membrane carrying the stabilized vaccine can be incorporated into a holder attached to a syringe for almost simultaneous reconstitution and injection at point of use. The technology may potentially be developed for the deployment of viral vector-based biopharmaceuticals in resource-poor settings.

Hill AV, Reyes-Sandoval A, O'Hara G, Ewer K, Lawrie A, Goodman A, Nicosia A, Folgori A, Colloca S, Cortese R et al. 2010. Prime-boost vectored malaria vaccines: progress and prospects. Hum Vaccin, 6 (1), pp. 78-83. | Show Abstract | Read more

The difficulty of inducing protective immunity through antibodies against sporozoites led to efforts to assess vectored vaccines as a means of inducing protective T-cell immunity against the malaria liver-stage parasite. Although DNA vectored vaccines used alone were poorly immunogenic and not protective, high levels of parasite clearance in the liver has been achieved with viral vectored vaccines used in heterologous prime-boost regimes. Such vectored vaccination regimes represent one of only two approaches that have induced repeatable partial efficacy in human P. falciparum subunit vaccine trials. Interestingly, vectors expressing the TRAP antigen have been consistently been more immunogenic and protective than vectors expressing the circumsporozoite protein in human trials. However, sterile protection requires induction of very potent T-cell responses that are currently only achievable with heterologous prime-boost regimes. Recently, simian adenoviruses have been assessed as priming agents in Adenovirus-MVA regimes in both phase I and phase IIa trials in the UK, based on very promising pre-clinical results showing better immunogenicity and efficacy than previous prime-boost regimes. The same vectors are also being assessed clinically expressing blood-stage antigens, attempting to induce both protective antibodies and T cells as recently demonstrated in murine efficacy studies. These viral vectors now provide a major option for inclusion in a high efficacy multi-stage malaria vaccine that should achieve deployable levels of efficacy in endemic settings.

Wong SH, Gochhait S, Malhotra D, Pettersson FH, Teo YY, Khor CC, Rautanen A, Chapman SJ, Mills TC, Srivastava A et al. 2010. Leprosy and the adaptation of human toll-like receptor 1. PLoS pathogens, 6 | Show Abstract

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by the obligate intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium leprae and remains endemic in many parts of the world. Despite several major studies on susceptibility to leprosy, few genomic loci have been replicated independently. We have conducted an association analysis of more than 1,500 individuals from different case-control and family studies, and observed consistent associations between genetic variants in both TLR1 and the HLA-DRB1/DQA1 regions with susceptibility to leprosy (TLR1 I602S, case-control P = 5.7 x 10(-8), OR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.20-0.48, and HLA-DQA1 rs1071630, case-control P = 4.9 x 10(-14), OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.35-0.54). The effect sizes of these associations suggest that TLR1 and HLA-DRB1/DQA1 are major susceptibility genes in susceptibility to leprosy. Further population differentiation analysis shows that the TLR1 locus is extremely differentiated. The protective dysfunctional 602S allele is rare in Africa but expands to become the dominant allele among individuals of European descent. This supports the hypothesis that this locus may be under selection from mycobacteria or other pathogens that are recognized by TLR1 and its co-receptors. These observations provide insight into the long standing host-pathogen relationship between human and mycobacteria and highlight the key role of the TLR pathway in infectious diseases.

Dunachie SJ, Berthoud T, Keating SM, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2010. MIG and the regulatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-β1 correlate with malaria vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy. PloS one, 5 (9),




Capone S, Reyes-Sandoval A, Naddeo M, Siani L, Ammendola V, Rollier CS, Nicosia A, Colloca S, Cortese R, Folgori A, Hill AVS. 2010. Immune responses against a liver-stage malaria antigen induced by simian adenoviral vector AdCh63 and MVA prime-boost immunisation in non-human primates Vaccine, 29 (2), pp. 256-265. | Read more

Kubarenko AV, Ranjan S, Rautanen A, Mills TC, Wong S, Vannberg F, Neumaier M, Bekeredjian-Ding I, Hill AV, Ahmad-Nejad P, Weber AN. 2010. A naturally occurring variant in human TLR9, P99L, is associated with loss of CpG oligonucleotide responsiveness. J Biol Chem, 285 (47), pp. 36486-36494. | Show Abstract | Read more

The innate immune system employs Toll-like receptors (TLRs) for the detection of invading microorganisms based on distinct molecular patterns. For example, TLR9 is activated by microbial DNA and also by short therapeutic CpG-containing oligonucleotides (CpG-ODN). TLR9 activation leads to the production of interferons and the priming of humoral adaptive immune responses. Unfortunately, the principles of ligand recognition by TLR9 are poorly understood, and genetic variants of TLR9, which may affect its function, have not been characterized systematically on the molecular level. We therefore sought to functionally characterize reported single nucleotide polymorphisms of TLR9 in the HEK293 model system. We discovered that two variants, P99L and M400I, are associated with altered receptor function regarding NF-κB activation and cytokine induction. Our investigations show that for the most functionally impaired variant, P99L, the ability to respond to physiological and therapeutic TLR9 ligands is severely compromised. However, CpG-ODN binding is normal. CpG-ODN recognition by TLR9 thus appears to involve two separate events, CpG-ODN binding and sensing. Our studies highlight Pro-99 as a residue important for the latter process. In genotyping studies, we confirmed that both M400I (rs41308230) and P99L (rs5743844) are relatively rare variants of TLR9. Our data add rs41308230 and rs5743844 to the list of functionally important TLR variants and warrant further research into their relevance for infectious disease susceptibility or responsiveness to CpG-ODN-based therapies.

Tye-Din JA, Stewart JA, Dromey JA, Beissbarth T, van Heel DA, Tatham A, Henderson K, Mannering SI, Gianfrani C, Jewell DP et al. 2010. Comprehensive, quantitative mapping of T cell epitopes in gluten in celiac disease. Sci Transl Med, 2 (41), pp. 41ra51. | Show Abstract | Read more

Celiac disease is a genetic condition that results in a debilitating immune reaction in the gut to antigens in grain. The antigenic peptides recognized by the T cells that cause this disease are incompletely defined. Our understanding of the epitopes of pathogenic CD4(+ )T cells is based primarily on responses shown by intestinal T-cells in vitro to hydrolysates or polypeptides of gluten, the causative antigen. A protease-resistant 33-amino acid peptide from wheat alpha-gliadin is the immunodominant antigen, but little is known about the spectrum of T cell epitopes in rye and barley or the hierarchy of immunodominance and consistency of recognition of T-cell epitopes in vivo. We induced polyclonal gluten-specific T cells in the peripheral blood of celiac patients by feeding them cereal and performed a comprehensive, unbiased analysis of responses to all celiac toxic prolamins, a class of plant storage protein. The peptides that stimulated T cells were the same among patients who ate the same cereal, but were different after wheat, barley and rye ingestion. Unexpectedly, a sequence from omega-gliadin (wheat) and C-hordein (barley) but not alpha-gliadin was immunodominant regardless of the grain consumed. Furthermore, T cells specific for just three peptides accounted for the majority of gluten-specific T cells, and their recognition of gluten peptides was highly redundant. Our findings show that pathogenic T cells in celiac disease show limited diversity, and therefore suggest that peptide-based therapeutics for this disease and potentially other strongly HLA-restricted immune diseases should be possible.

Capone S, Reyes-Sandoval A, Naddeo M, Siani L, Ammendola V, Rollier CS, Nicosia A, Colloca S, Cortese R, Folgori A, Hill AV. 2010. Immune responses against a liver-stage malaria antigen induced by simian adenoviral vector AdCh63 and MVA prime-boost immunisation in non-human primates. Vaccine, 29 (2), pp. 256-265. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a major health problem as nearly half of the human population is exposed to this parasite causing around 600 million clinical cases annually. Prime-boost regimes using simian adenoviral vectors and MVA expressing the clinically relevant Plasmodium falciparum ME.TRAP antigen have shown outstanding protective efficacy in mouse models. We now extend those observations to macaque monkeys. Immunisation with AdCh63 elicited a median response of 869 IFN-γ SFC/million PBMCs to ME.TRAP and responses were boosted by MVA to reach 5256 SFC/million PBMCs, increasing at the same time the breadth of the T cell responses to cover the complete ME.TRAP antigen. Intramuscular vaccination was more immunogenic than the intradermal route, and MVA could be used repeatedly for up to 3 times to boost adenovirus-primed responses. An interval of 16 weeks between repeated MVA injections was optimal to enhance cytokine production by T cells and improve the CD8 multifunctional responses. Antibodies to TRAP were exceptionally high and maintained for a long period of time after the prime-boost regime. These results in non-human primates highlight the potential of this vaccination regime and encourage its future use in clinical trials.

Wong SH, Gochhait S, Malhotra D, Pettersson FH, Teo YY, Khor CC, Rautanen A, Chapman SJ, Mills TC, Srivastava A et al. 2010. Leprosy and the adaptation of human toll-like receptor 1. PLoS Pathog, 6 (7), pp. e1000979. | Show Abstract | Read more

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by the obligate intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium leprae and remains endemic in many parts of the world. Despite several major studies on susceptibility to leprosy, few genomic loci have been replicated independently. We have conducted an association analysis of more than 1,500 individuals from different case-control and family studies, and observed consistent associations between genetic variants in both TLR1 and the HLA-DRB1/DQA1 regions with susceptibility to leprosy (TLR1 I602S, case-control P = 5.7 x 10(-8), OR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.20-0.48, and HLA-DQA1 rs1071630, case-control P = 4.9 x 10(-14), OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.35-0.54). The effect sizes of these associations suggest that TLR1 and HLA-DRB1/DQA1 are major susceptibility genes in susceptibility to leprosy. Further population differentiation analysis shows that the TLR1 locus is extremely differentiated. The protective dysfunctional 602S allele is rare in Africa but expands to become the dominant allele among individuals of European descent. This supports the hypothesis that this locus may be under selection from mycobacteria or other pathogens that are recognized by TLR1 and its co-receptors. These observations provide insight into the long standing host-pathogen relationship between human and mycobacteria and highlight the key role of the TLR pathway in infectious diseases.

Chapman SJ, Vannberg FO, Khor CC, Rautanen A, Maskell NA, Davies CW, Moore CE, Day NP, Crook DW, Davies RJ, Hill AV. 2010. Mannose-binding lectin genotypes: lack of association with susceptibility to thoracic empyema. BMC Med Genet, 11 (1), pp. 5. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The role of the innate immune protein mannose-binding lectin (MBL) in host defence against severe respiratory infection remains controversial. Thoracic empyema is a suppurative lung infection that arises as a major complication of pneumonia and is associated with a significant mortality. Although the pathogenesis of thoracic empyema is poorly understood, genetic susceptibility loci for this condition have recently been identified. The possible role of MBL genotypic deficiency in susceptibility to thoracic empyema has not previously been reported. METHODS: To investigate this further we compared the frequencies of the six functional MBL polymorphisms in 170 European individuals with thoracic empyema and 225 healthy control individuals. RESULTS: No overall association was observed between MBL genotypic deficiency and susceptibility to thoracic empyema (2 x 2 Chi square = 0.02, P = 0.87). Furthermore, no association was seen between MBL deficiency and susceptibility to the Gram-positive or pneumococcal empyema subgroups. MBL genotypic deficiency did not associate with progression to death or requirement for surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that MBL genotypic deficiency does not associate with susceptibility to thoracic empyema in humans.

Dunachie SJ, Berthoud T, Keating SM, Hill AV, Fletcher HA. 2010. MIG and the regulatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-β1 correlate with malaria vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy. PLoS One, 5 (9), pp. e12557. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria remains one of the world's greatest killers and a vaccine is urgently required. There are no established correlates of protection against malaria either for natural immunity to the disease or for immunity conferred by candidate malaria vaccines. The RTS,S/AS02A vaccine offers significant partial efficacy against malaria.mRNA expression of five key cytokines interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), monokine induced by gamma (MIG), interleukin-10 (IL-10), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and forkhead box P3 (FoxP3) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were measured by real-time RT-PCR before and after vaccination with RTS,S/AS02A and Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara encoding the circumsporozoite protein (MVA-CS) in healthy malaria-naïve adult volunteers. The only significant change was in IFN-γ mRNA expression, which was increased seven days after vaccination (P  =  0.04). Expression of MIG mRNA seven days after vaccination correlated inversely with time to detection of parasites by blood film in an experimental sporozoite challenge (r = 0.94 P  =  0.005). An inverse relationship was seen between both TGF-β1 and IL-10 mRNA at baseline and the anti-circumsporozoite IgG antibody response (r  =  -0.644 P  =  0.022 and r =  -0.554 P = 0.031 respectively). This study demonstrates the potential for MIG expression as a correlate of protection against malaria. Baseline levels of the regulatory cytokines TGF-β and IL-10 inversely correlated with antibody levels post vaccination and warrant further studies to improve understanding of individual differences in response to vaccination.

Scriba TJ, Tameris M, Mansoor N, Smit E, van der Merwe L, Isaacs F, Keyser A, Moyo S, Brittain N, Lawrie A et al. 2010. Modified vaccinia Ankara-expressing Ag85A, a novel tuberculosis vaccine, is safe in adolescents and children, and induces polyfunctional CD4+ T cells. Eur J Immunol, 40 (1), pp. 279-290. | Show Abstract | Read more

Modified vaccinia Ankara-expressing Ag85A (MVA85A) is a new tuberculosis (TB) vaccine aimed at enhancing immunity induced by BCG. We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A in healthy adolescents and children from a TB endemic region, who received BCG at birth. Twelve adolescents and 24 children were vaccinated and followed up for 12 or 6 months, respectively. Adverse events were documented and vaccine-induced immune responses assessed by IFN-gamma ELISpot and intracellular cytokine staining. The vaccine was well tolerated and there were no vaccine-related serious adverse events. MVA85A induced potent and durable T-cell responses. Multiple CD4+ T-cell subsets, based on expression of IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-2, IL-17 and GM-CSF, were induced. Polyfunctional CD4+ T cells co-expressing IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-2 dominated the response in both age groups. A novel CD4+ cell subset co-expressing these three Th1 cytokines and IL-17 was induced in adolescents, while a novel CD4+ T-cell subset co-expressing Th1 cytokines and GM-CSF was induced in children. Ag-specific CD8+ T cells were not detected. We conclude that in adolescents and children MVA85A safely induces the type of immunity thought to be important in protection against TB. This includes induction of novel Th1-cell populations that have not been previously described in humans.

Reyes-Sandoval A, Berthoud T, Alder N, Siani L, Gilbert SC, Nicosia A, Colloca S, Cortese R, Hill AV. 2010. Prime-boost immunization with adenoviral and modified vaccinia virus Ankara vectors enhances the durability and polyfunctionality of protective malaria CD8+ T-cell responses. Infect Immun, 78 (1), pp. 145-153. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protection against liver-stage malaria relies on the induction of high frequencies of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. We have previously reported high protective levels against mouse malaria, albeit short-lived, by a single vaccination with adenoviral vectors coding for a liver-stage antigen (ME.TRAP). Here, we report that prime-boost regimens using modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and adenoviral vectors encoding ME.TRAP can enhance both short- and long-term sterile protection against malaria. Protection persisted for at least 6 months when simian adenoviruses AdCh63 and AdC9 were used as priming vectors. Kinetic analysis showed that the MVA boost made the adenoviral-primed T cells markedly more polyfunctional, with the number of gamma interferon (INF-gamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and interleukin-2 (IL-2) triple-positive and INF-gamma and TNF-alpha double-positive cells increasing over time, while INF-gamma single-positive cells declined with time. However, IFN-gamma production prevailed as the main immune correlate of protection, while neither an increase of polyfunctionality nor a high integrated mean fluorescence intensity (iMFI) correlated with protection. These data highlight the ability of optimized viral vector prime-boost regimens to generate more protective and sustained CD8+ T-cell responses, and our results encourage a more nuanced assessment of the importance of inducing polyfunctional CD8(+) T cells by vaccination.

Mwacharo J, Dunachie SJ, Kai O, Hill AV, Bejon P, Fletcher HA. 2009. Quantitative PCR evaluation of cellular immune responses in Kenyan children vaccinated with a candidate malaria vaccine. PLoS One, 4 (12), pp. e8434. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The T-cell mediated immune response plays a central role in the control of malaria after natural infection or vaccination. There is increasing evidence that T-cell responses are heterogeneous and that both the quality of the immune response and the balance between pro-inflammatory and regulatory T-cells determines the outcome of an infection. As Malaria parasites have been shown to induce immunosuppressive responses to the parasite and non-related antigens this study examined T-cell mediated pro-inflammatory and regulatory immune responses induced by malaria vaccination in children in an endemic area to determine if these responses were associated with vaccine immunogenicity. METHODS: Using real-time RT- PCR we profiled the expression of a panel of key markers of immunogenecity at different time points after vaccination with two viral vector vaccines expressing the malaria TRAP antigen (FP9-TRAP and MVA-TRAP) or following rabies vaccination as a control. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The vaccine induced modest levels of IFN-gamma mRNA one week after vaccination. There was also an increase in FoxP3 mRNA expression in both TRAP stimulated and media stimulated cells in the FFM ME-TRAP vaccine group; however, this may have been driven by natural exposure to parasite rather than by vaccination. CONCLUSION: Quantitative PCR is a useful method for evaluating vaccine induced cell mediated immune responses in frozen PBMC from children in a malaria endemic country. Future studies should seek to use vaccine vectors that increase the magnitude and quality of the IFN-gamma immune response in naturally exposed populations and should monitor the induction of a regulatory T cell response.

Fairfax BP, Vannberg FO, Radhakrishnan J, Hakonarson H, Keating BJ, Hill AV, Knight JC. 2010. An integrated expression phenotype mapping approach defines common variants in LEP, ALOX15 and CAPNS1 associated with induction of IL-6. Hum Mol Genet, 19 (4), pp. 720-730. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an important modulator of inflammation and immunity whose dysregulation is associated with a number of disease states. There is evidence of significant heritability in inter-individual variation in IL6 gene expression but the genetic variants responsible for this remain to be defined. We adopted a combined approach of mapping protein and expression quantitative trait loci in peripheral blood mononuclear cells using high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing for approximately 2000 loci implicated in cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory syndromes to show that common SNP markers and haplotypes of LEP (encoding leptin) associate with a 1.7- to 2-fold higher level of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced IL-6 expression. We subsequently demonstrate that basal leptin expression significantly correlates with LPS-induced IL-6 expression and that the same variants at LEP which associate with IL-6 expression are also major determinants of leptin expression in these cells. We find that variation involving two other genomic regions, CAPNS1 (encoding calpain small subunit 1) and ALOX15 (encoding arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase), show significant association with IL-6 expression. Although this may be a subset of all such trans-acting effects, we find that the same ALOX15 variants are associated with induced expression of tumour necrosis factor and IL-1beta consistent with a broader role in acute inflammation for ALOX15. This study provides evidence of novel genetic determinants of IL-6 production with implications for understanding susceptibility to inflammatory disease processes and insight into cross talk between metabolic and inflammatory pathways. It also provides proof of concept for use of an integrated expression phenotype mapping approach.

Berthoud TK, Fletcher H, Porter D, Thompson F, Hill AV, Todryk SM. 2009. Comparing human T cell and NK cell responses in viral-based malaria vaccine trials. Vaccine, 28 (1), pp. 21-27. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination with viral-based vaccines continues to hold promise for the prevention of malaria. Whilst antigen-specific T cell responses are considered a major aim of such an approach, a role for induced NK cells as anti-malarial effector cells, or in shaping T cell responses, has received less attention. In this study naïve human volunteers were vaccinated in a prime-boost vaccination regimen comprising recombinant viral vectors fowlpox (FP9) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) encoding liver-stage antigens, or a virosome vaccine. Significant T cell responses specific for the vectored vaccine antigens were demonstrated by IFNgamma ELISPOT and intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) for IFNgamma and IL-2, the ICS being associated with increased time to parasitaemia following subsequent challenge. Numbers of CD56(bright) lymphocytes increased significantly following vaccination, as did CD3(+) CD56(+) lymphocytes, whilst CD56(dim) cells did not. No such increases were seen with the virosome vaccine. There was no significant correlation of these CD56(+) populations with the antigen-specific T cell responses nor time to parasitaemia. To investigate pathways of immune activation that could contribute to these lymphocyte responses, viral vectors were shown in vitro to efficiently infect APCs but not lymphocytes, and stimulated inflammatory cytokines such as type I interferons. In conclusion, measuring antigen-specific T cells is more meaningful than NK cells in these vaccination regimens.

Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Rautanen A, Segal S, Moore CE, Davies RJ, Day NP, Peshu N, Crook DW et al. 2010. NFKBIZ polymorphisms and susceptibility to pneumococcal disease in European and African populations. Genes Immun, 11 (4), pp. 319-325. | Show Abstract | Read more

The proinflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) has a central role in host defence against pneumococcal disease. Both rare mutations and common polymorphisms in the NFKBIA gene encoding the NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaB-alpha, associate with susceptibility to bacterial disease, but the possible role of polymorphisms within the related IkappaB-zeta gene NFKBIZ in the development of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has not been reported previously. To investigate this further, we examined the frequencies of 22 single-nucleotide polymorphisms spanning NFKBIZ in two case-control studies, comprising UK Caucasian (n=1008) and Kenyan (n=723) individuals. Nine polymorphisms within a single UK linkage disequilibrium (LD) block and all four polymorphisms within the equivalent, shorter Kenyan LD block displayed either a significant association with IPD or a trend towards association. For each polymorphism, heterozygosity was associated with protection from IPD when compared with the combined homozygous states (for example, for rs600718, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2)=7.576, P=0.006, odds ratio (OR)=0.67, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for OR: 0.51-0.88; for rs616597, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2)=8.715, P=0.003, OR=0.65, 95% CI: 0.49-0.86). We conclude that multiple NFKBIZ polymorphisms associate with susceptibility to IPD in humans. The study of multiple populations may aid in fine mapping of associations within extensive regions of strong LD ('transethnic mapping').

Larsen KC, Spencer AJ, Goodman AL, Gilchrist A, Furze J, Rollier CS, Kiss-Toth E, Gilbert SC, Bregu M, Soilleux EJ et al. 2009. Expression of tak1 and tram induces synergistic pro-inflammatory signalling and adjuvants DNA vaccines. Vaccine, 27 (41), pp. 5589-5598. | Show Abstract | Read more

Improving vaccine immunogenicity remains a major challenge in the fight against developing country diseases like malaria and AIDS. We describe a novel strategy to identify new DNA vaccine adjuvants. We have screened components of the Toll-like receptor signalling pathways for their ability to activate pro-inflammatory target genes in transient transfection assays and assessed in vivo adjuvant activity by expressing the activators from the DNA backbone of vaccines. We find that a robust increase in the immune response necessitates co-expression of two activators. Accordingly, the combination of tak1 and tram elicits synergistic reporter activation in transient transfection assays. In a mouse model this combination, but not the individual molecules, induced approximately twofold increases in CD8+ T-cell immune responses. These results indicate that optimal immunogenicity may require activation of distinct innate immune signalling pathways. Thus this strategy offers a novel route to the discovery of a new generation of adjuvants.

Todryk SM, Pathan AA, Keating S, Porter DW, Berthoud T, Thompson F, Klenerman P, Hill AV. 2009. The relationship between human effector and memory T cells measured by ex vivo and cultured ELISPOT following recent and distal priming. Immunology, 128 (1), pp. 83-91. | Show Abstract | Read more

Maintenance of T-cell responses is an essential feature in protection from many infectious diseases that must be harnessed in vaccination. The relationship between effector T-cell responses and more durable and highly proliferative T-cell memory, particularly in humans, is not well understood. In this study, effector T-cell responses were measured by overnight ex vivo interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot-forming cell assay (ELISPOT), whereas memory T cells were measured by 10-day culture followed by IFN-gamma ELISPOT (cultured ELISPOT). We observed a significant correlation between IFN-gamma responses to CD4-stimulatory, but not to CD8-stimulatory, recall antigens measured by these assays, suggesting a divergence in regulation. In vaccine trial participants who received a prime-boost vaccination regimen comprising malaria antigens delivered by poxviruses, there was a correlation between ex vivo and cultured responses on day 7, but not 3 months post-vaccination, with the ratio of cultured : ex vivo response increasing over time. To compare responses revealed by cultured ELISPOT in more detail, tetramers comprising viral recall antigens were used to ascribe effector-memory and central-memory T-cell phenotypes through CCR7 and CD62L costaining. For CD8(+) responses the effector phenotype decreased during the initial culture period and memory populations remained high within the resulting 20-fold to 50-fold increased IFN-gamma-secreting or tetramer(+) population. This was less marked for CD4(+) responses, which had higher starting memory phenotype. Depletion of these central-memory T-cell populations generally ablated responses in cultured ELISPOT and reduced ex vivo responses. This study highlights differences between CD4(+) and CD8(+) effector and memory T cells, and the more complex phenotype of CD4(+) T cells.

Lyons EJ, Frodsham AJ, Zhang L, Hill AV, Amos W. 2009. Consanguinity and susceptibility to infectious diseases in humans. Biol Lett, 5 (4), pp. 574-576. | Show Abstract | Read more

Studies of animal populations suggest that low genetic heterozygosity is an important risk factor for infection by a diverse range of pathogens, but relatively little research has looked to see whether similar patterns exist in humans. We have used microsatellite genome screen data for tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis and leprosy to test the hypothesis that inbreeding depression increases risk of infection. Our results indicate that inbred individuals are more common among our infected cases for TB and hepatitis, but only in populations where consanguineous marriages are common. No effect was found either for leprosy, which is thought to be oligogenic, or for hepatitis in Italy where consanguineous marriages are rare. Our results suggest that consanguinity is an important risk factor in susceptibility to infectious diseases in humans.

Todryk SM, Walther M, Bejon P, Hutchings C, Thompson FM, Urban BC, Porter DW, Hill AV. 2009. Multiple functions of human T cells generated by experimental malaria challenge. Eur J Immunol, 39 (11), pp. 3042-3051. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protective immunity generated following malaria infection may be comprised of Ab or T cells against malaria Ag of different stages; however, the short-lived immunity that is observed suggests deficiency in immune memory or regulatory activity. In this study, cellular immune responses were investigated in individuals receiving Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite challenge by the natural (mosquito bite) route as part of a malaria vaccine efficacy trial. Parasitemia, monitored by blood film microscopy and PCR, was subsequently cleared with drugs. All individuals demonstrated stable IFN-gamma, IL-2 and IL-4 ex vivo ELISPOT effector responses against P. falciparum-infected RBC (iRBC) Ag, 28 and 90 days after challenge. However, infected RBC-specific central memory responses, as measured by IFN-gamma cultured ELISPOT, were low and unstable over time, despite CD4(+) T cells being highly proliferative by CFSE dilution, and showed an inverse relationship to parasite density. In support of the observation of poor memory, co-culture experiments showed reduced responses to common recall Ag, indicating malaria-specific regulatory activity. This activity could not be accounted for by the expression of IL-10, TGF-beta, FOXP3 or CTLA-4, but proliferating T cells expressed high levels of CD95, indicating a pro-apoptotic phenotype. Lastly, there was an inverse relationship between FOXP3 expression, when measured 10 days after challenge, and ex vivo IFN-gamma measured more than 100 days later. This study shows that malaria infection elicits specific Th1 and Th2 effector cells, but concomitant weak central memory and regulatory activity, which may help to explain the short-lived immunity observed.

Vordermeier HM, Villarreal-Ramos B, Cockle PJ, McAulay M, Rhodes SG, Thacker T, Gilbert SC, McShane H, Hill AV, Xing Z, Hewinson RG. 2009. Viral booster vaccines improve Mycobacterium bovis BCG-induced protection against bovine tuberculosis. Infect Immun, 77 (8), pp. 3364-3373. | Show Abstract | Read more

Previous work with small-animal laboratory models of tuberculosis has shown that vaccination strategies based on heterologous prime-boost protocols using Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) to prime and modified vaccinia virus Ankara strain (MVA85A) or recombinant attenuated adenoviruses (Ad85A) expressing the mycobacterial antigen Ag85A to boost may increase the protective efficacy of BCG. Here we report the first efficacy data on using these vaccines in cattle, a natural target species of tuberculous infection. Protection was determined by measuring development of disease as an end point after M. bovis challenge. Either Ad85A or MVA85A boosting resulted in protection superior to that given by BCG alone: boosting BCG with MVA85A or Ad85A induced significant reduction in pathology in four/eight parameters assessed, while BCG vaccination alone did so in only one parameter studied. Protection was particularly evident in the lungs of vaccinated animals (median lung scores for naïve and BCG-, BCG/MVA85A-, and BCG/Ad85A-vaccinated animals were 10.5, 5, 2.5, and 0, respectively). The bacterial loads in lymph node tissues were also reduced after viral boosting of BCG-vaccinated calves compared to those in BCG-only-vaccinated animals. Analysis of vaccine-induced immunity identified memory responses measured by cultured enzyme-linked immunospot assay as well as in vitro interleukin-17 production as predictors of vaccination success, as both responses, measured before challenge, correlated positively with the degree of protection. Therefore, this study provides evidence of improved protection against tuberculosis by viral booster vaccination in a natural target species and has prioritized potential correlates of vaccine efficacy for further evaluation. These findings also have implications for human tuberculosis vaccine development.

McDermid JM, van der Loeff MF, Jaye A, Hennig BJ, Bates C, Todd J, Sirugo G, Hill AV, Whittle HC, Prentice AM. 2009. Mortality in HIV infection is independently predicted by host iron status and SLC11A1 and HP genotypes, with new evidence of a gene-nutrient interaction. Am J Clin Nutr, 90 (1), pp. 225-233. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Iron-related genes and iron status may independently contribute to variable HIV outcomes. The nature of the biologically plausible gene-nutrient interaction remains unknown. OBJECTIVES: The objectives were to investigate whether iron-related genotypes and clinically abnormal iron status independently predict mortality in HIV and whether a gene-nutrient interaction exists. DESIGN: Baseline plasma, DNA, and clinical data were obtained from 1362 HIV-seropositive Gambian adults followed for 11.5 y to ascertain all-cause mortality. Iron status was estimated on the basis of plasma iron, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), ferritin, transferrin, transferrin index, and log(sTfR/ferritin). One haptoglobin (HP) and 5 SLC11A1 (NRAMP1) polymorphisms were genotyped. RESULTS: SLC11A1-SLC3 and CAAA polymorphisms were the best independent genetic predictors of mortality [adjusted mortality rate ratio (95% CI)]: SLC3:G/C = 0.59 (95% CI: 0.45, 0.85), CAAA:del/ins = 1.51 (95% CI: 1.10, 2.07). In an adjusted model that included all polymorphisms, SLC1:199/199, SLC1:other/other, SLC6a:A/A, and CAAA:del/ins were associated with significantly greater mortality, whereas Hp 2-1 and SLC3:G/C were protective. In unadjusted analyses, all biomarker concentrations were significantly associated with mortality. In an extension of previous findings, both low and elevated iron states were associated with mortality, but the nature of the risk was variable, with linear, inversely linear, and U-shaped associations depending on the biomarker. Mortality was significantly lower in HIV-2 than in HIV-1 infection in the presence of abnormal (low or elevated) iron status. A gene-iron interaction was detected (likelihood-ratio test P = 0.018); however, subject numbers restricted category-specific interpretation. CONCLUSIONS: Iron-related genes, iron status, and their interaction predict mortality in HIV. These findings illustrate the complexity and uncertainty surrounding best practice for managing abnormal iron status and anemia during HIV infection and in regions with a high risk of infection.

Dudareva M, Andrews L, Gilbert SC, Bejon P, Marsh K, Mwacharo J, Kai O, Nicosia A, Hill AV. 2009. Prevalence of serum neutralizing antibodies against chimpanzee adenovirus 63 and human adenovirus 5 in Kenyan children, in the context of vaccine vector efficacy. Vaccine, 27 (27), pp. 3501-3504. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination against Plasmodium falciparum malaria could reduce the worldwide burden of this disease, and decrease its high mortality in children. Replication-defective recombinant adenovirus vectors carrying P. falciparum epitopes may be useful as part of a vaccine that raises cellular immunity to the pre-erythrocytic stage of malaria infection. However, existing immunity to the adenovirus vector results in antibody-mediated neutralization of the vaccine vector, and reduced vaccine immunogenicity. Our aim was to examine a population of children who are at risk from P. falciparum malaria for neutralizing immunity to replication-deficient recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus 63 vector (AdC63), compared to human adenovirus 5 vector (AdHu5). We measured 50% and 90% vector neutralization titers in 200 individual sera, taken from a cohort of children from Kenya, using a secreted alkaline phosphatase neutralization assay. We found that 23% of the children (aged 1-6 years) had high-titer neutralizing antibodies to AdHu5, and 4% had high-titer neutralizing antibodies to AdC63. Immunity to both vectors was age-dependent. Low-level neutralization of AdC63 was significantly less frequent than AdHu5 neutralization at the 90% neutralization level. We conclude that AdC63 may be a useful vector as part of a prime-boost malaria vaccine in children.

Newton-Cheh C, Johnson T, Gateva V, Tobin MD, Bochud M, Coin L, Najjar SS, Zhao JH, Heath SC, Eyheramendy S et al. 2009. Genome-wide association study identifies eight loci associated with blood pressure. Nat Genet, 41 (6), pp. 666-676. | Show Abstract | Read more

Elevated blood pressure is a common, heritable cause of cardiovascular disease worldwide. To date, identification of common genetic variants influencing blood pressure has proven challenging. We tested 2.5 million genotyped and imputed SNPs for association with systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 34,433 subjects of European ancestry from the Global BPgen consortium and followed up findings with direct genotyping (N ≤ 71,225 European ancestry, N ≤ 12,889 Indian Asian ancestry) and in silico comparison (CHARGE consortium, N = 29,136). We identified association between systolic or diastolic blood pressure and common variants in eight regions near the CYP17A1 (P = 7 × 10(-24)), CYP1A2 (P = 1 × 10(-23)), FGF5 (P = 1 × 10(-21)), SH2B3 (P = 3 × 10(-18)), MTHFR (P = 2 × 10(-13)), c10orf107 (P = 1 × 10(-9)), ZNF652 (P = 5 × 10(-9)) and PLCD3 (P = 1 × 10(-8)) genes. All variants associated with continuous blood pressure were associated with dichotomous hypertension. These associations between common variants and blood pressure and hypertension offer mechanistic insights into the regulation of blood pressure and may point to novel targets for interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Sander CR, Pathan AA, Beveridge NE, Poulton I, Minassian A, Alder N, Van Wijgerden J, Hill AV, Gleeson FV, Davies RJ et al. 2009. Safety and immunogenicity of a new tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A, in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected individuals. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 179 (8), pp. 724-733. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: An effective new tuberculosis (TB) vaccine regimen must be safe in individuals with latent TB infection (LTBI) and is a priority for global health care. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a leading new TB vaccine, recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara expressing Antigen 85A (MVA85A) in individuals with LTBI. METHODS: An open-label, phase I trial of MVA85A was performed in 12 subjects with LTBI recruited from TB contact clinics in Oxford and London or by poster advertisements in Oxford hospitals. Patients were assessed clinically and had blood samples drawn for immunological analysis over a 52-week period after vaccination with MVA85A. Thoracic computed tomography scans were performed at baseline and at 10 weeks after vaccination. Safety of MVA85A was assessed by clinical, radiological, and inflammatory markers. The immunogenicity of MVA85A was assessed by IFNgamma and IL-2 ELISpot assays and FACS. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: MVA85A was safe in subjects with LTBI, with comparable adverse events to previous trials of MVA85A. There were no clinically significant changes in inflammatory markers or thoracic computed tomography scans after vaccination. MVA85A induced a strong antigen-specific IFN-gamma and IL-2 response that was durable for 52 weeks. The magnitude of IFN-gamma response was comparable to previous trials of MVA85A in bacillus Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated individuals. Antigen 85A-specific polyfunctional CD4(+) T cells were detectable prior to vaccination with statistically significant increases in cell numbers after vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: MVA85A is safe and highly immunogenic in individuals with LTBI. These results will facilitate further trials in TB-endemic areas. Clinical trial registered with (NCT00456183).

Hill AV, Shirley M, Greenwood BM. 2009. Jenner reborn: a new vaccine institute. Lancet, 373 (9662), pp. 445-446. | Read more

Tchilian EZ, Desel C, Forbes EK, Bandermann S, Sander CR, Hill AV, McShane H, Kaufmann SH. 2009. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of prime-boost regimens with recombinant (delta)ureC hly+ Mycobacterium bovis BCG and modified vaccinia virus ankara expressing M. tuberculosis antigen 85A against murine tuberculosis. Infect Immun, 77 (2), pp. 622-631. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the light of the recent emergence of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) in populations coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus, and the failure of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) to protect against disease, new vaccines against TB are urgently needed. Two promising new vaccine candidates are the recombinant DeltaureC hly(+) BCG (recBCG), which has been developed to replace the current BCG vaccine strain, and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing M. tuberculosis antigen 85A (MVA85A), which is a leading candidate vaccine designed to boost the protective efficacy of BCG. In the present study, we examined the effect of MVA85A boosting on the protection afforded at 12 weeks postchallenge by BCG and recBCG by using bacterial CFU as an efficacy readout. recBCG-immunized mice were significantly better protected against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis than mice immunized with the parental strain of BCG. Intradermal boosting with MVA85A did not reduce the bacterial burden any further. In order to identify a marker for the development of a protective immune response against M. tuberculosis challenge, we analyzed splenocytes after priming or prime-boosting by using intracytoplasmic cytokine staining and assays for cytokine secretion. Boosting with MVA85A, but not priming with BCG or recBCG, greatly increased the antigen 85A-specific T-cell response, suggesting that the mechanism of protection may differ from that against BCG or recBCG. We show that the numbers of systemic multifunctional cytokine-producing cells did not correlate with protection against aerosol challenge in BALB/c mice. This emphasizes the need for new biomarkers for the evaluation of TB vaccine efficacy.

Draper SJ, Goodman AL, Biswas S, Forbes EK, Moore AC, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2009. Recombinant viral vaccines expressing merozoite surface protein-1 induce antibody- and T cell-mediated multistage protection against malaria. Cell Host Microbe, 5 (1), pp. 95-105. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protecting against both liver and blood stages of infection is a long-sought goal of malaria vaccine design. Recently, we described the use of replication-defective viral vaccine vectors expressing the malaria antigen merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) as an antimalarial vaccine strategy that elicits potent and protective antibody responses against blood-stage parasites. Here, we show that vaccine-induced MSP-1-specific CD4(+) T cells provide essential help for protective B cell responses, and CD8(+) T cells mediate significant antiparasitic activity against liver-stage parasites. Enhanced survival is subsequently seen in immunized mice following challenge with sporozoites, which mimics the natural route of infection more closely than when using infected red blood cells. This effect is evident both in the presence and absence of protective antibodies and is associated with decreased parasite burden in the liver followed by enhanced induction of the cytokine IFN-gamma in the serum. Multistage immunity against malaria can thus be achieved by using viral vectors recombinant for MSP-1.

Ferwerda B, Alonso S, Banahan K, McCall MB, Giamarellos-Bourboulis EJ, Ramakers BP, Mouktaroudi M, Fain PR, Izagirre N, Syafruddin D et al. 2009. Functional and genetic evidence that the Mal/TIRAP allele variant 180L has been selected by providing protection against septic shock. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 106 (25), pp. 10272-10277. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adequate responses by our innate immune system toward invading pathogens were of vital importance for surviving infections, especially before the antibiotic era. Recently, a polymorphism in Mal (Ser180Leu, TIRAP rs8177374), an important adaptor protein downstream of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 and 4 pathways, has been described to provide protection against a broad range of infectious pathogens. We assessed the functional effects of this polymorphism in human experimental endotoxemia, and we demonstrate that individuals bearing the TIRAP 180L allele display an increased, innate immune response to TLR4 and TLR2 ligands, but not to TLR9 stimulation. This phenotype has been related to an increased resistance to infection. However, an overshoot in the release of proinflammatory cytokines by TIRAP 180L homozygous individuals suggests a scenario of balanced evolution. We have also investigated the worldwide distribution of the Ser180Leu polymorphism in 14 populations around the globe to correlate the genetic makeup of TIRAP with the local infectious pressures. Based on the immunological, clinical, and genetic data, we propose that this mutation might have been selected in West Eurasia during the early settlement of this region after the out-of-Africa migration of modern Homo sapiens. This combination of functional and genetic data provides unique insights to our understanding of the pathogenesis of sepsis.

Lyons EJ, Amos W, Berkley JA, Mwangi I, Shafi M, Williams TN, Newton CR, Peshu N, Marsh K, Scott JA, Hill AV. 2009. Homozygosity and risk of childhood death due to invasive bacterial disease. BMC Med Genet, 10 (1), pp. 55. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Genetic heterozygosity is increasingly being shown to be a key predictor of fitness in natural populations, both through inbreeding depression, inbred individuals having low heterozygosity, and also through chance linkage between a marker and a gene under balancing selection. One important component of fitness that is often highlighted is resistance to parasites and other pathogens. However, the significance of equivalent loci in human populations remains unclear. Consequently, we performed a case-control study of fatal invasive bacterial disease in Kenyan children using a genome-wide screen with microsatellite markers. METHODS: 148 cases, comprising children aged <13 years who died of invasive bacterial disease, (variously, bacteraemia, bacterial meningitis or neonatal sepsis) and 137 age-matched, healthy children were sampled in a prospective study conducted at Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya. Samples were genotyped for 134 microsatellite markers using the ABI LD20 marker set and analysed for an association between homozygosity and mortality. RESULTS: At five markers homozygosity was strongly associated with mortality (odds ratio range 4.7 - 12.2) with evidence of interactions between some markers. Mortality was associated with different non-overlapping marker groups in Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial disease. Homozygosity at susceptibility markers was common (prevalence 19-49%) and, with the large effect sizes, this suggests that bacterial disease mortality may be strongly genetically determined. CONCLUSION: Balanced polymorphisms appear to be more widespread in humans than previously appreciated and play a critical role in modulating susceptibility to infectious disease. The effect sizes we report, coupled with the stochasticity of exposure to pathogens suggests that infection and mortality are far from random due to a strong genetic basis.

Berthoud TK, Dunachie SJ, Todryk S, Hill AV, Fletcher HA. 2009. MIG (CXCL9) is a more sensitive measure than IFN-gamma of vaccine induced T-cell responses in volunteers receiving investigated malaria vaccines. J Immunol Methods, 340 (1), pp. 33-41. | Show Abstract | Read more

For many years the IFN-gamma ex vivo ELISPOT has been a major assay for assessing human T-cell responses generated by malaria vaccines. The ELISPOT assay is a sensitive assay, but an imperfect correlate of protection against malaria. Monokine induced by gamma (MIG), or CXCL9, is a chemokine induced by IFN-gamma and has the potential to provide amplification of the IFN-gamma signal. MIG secretion could provide a measure of bio-active IFN-gamma and a functional IFN-gamma signalling pathway. We report that detecting MIG by flow cytometry and by RT-PCR can be more sensitive than the detection of IFN-gamma using these methods. We also find that there is little inter-individual variability in MIG secretion when detected by flow cytometry and that the MIG assay may be used to estimate the amount of bio-active IFN-gamma present. Measurement of MIG alongside IFN-gamma may provide a fuller picture of Th1 type responses post-vaccination.

Verreck FA, Vervenne RA, Kondova I, van Kralingen KW, Remarque EJ, Braskamp G, van der Werff NM, Kersbergen A, Ottenhoff TH, Heidt PJ et al. 2009. MVA.85A boosting of BCG and an attenuated, phoP deficient M. tuberculosis vaccine both show protective efficacy against tuberculosis in rhesus macaques. PLoS One, 4 (4), pp. e5264. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Continuous high global tuberculosis (TB) mortality rates and variable vaccine efficacy of Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) motivate the search for better vaccine regimes. Relevant models are required to downselect the most promising vaccines entering clinical efficacy testing and to identify correlates of protection. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Here, we evaluated immunogenicity and protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in rhesus monkeys with two novel strategies: BCG boosted by modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A (MVA.85A), and attenuated M. tuberculosis with a disrupted phoP gene (SO2) as a single-dose vaccine. Both strategies were well tolerated, and immunogenic as evidenced by induction of specific IFNgamma responses. Antigen 85A-specific IFNgamma secretion was specifically increased by MVA.85A boosting. Importantly, both MVA.85A and SO2 treatment significantly reduced pathology and chest X-ray scores upon infectious challenge with M. tuberculosis Erdman strain. MVA.85A and SO2 treatment also showed reduced average lung bacterial counts (1.0 and 1.2 log respectively, compared with 0.4 log for BCG) and significant protective effect by reduction in C-reactive protein levels, body weight loss, and decrease of erythrocyte-associated hematologic parameters (MCV, MCH, Hb, Ht) as markers of inflammatory infection, all relative to non-vaccinated controls. Lymphocyte stimulation revealed Ag85A-induced IFNgamma levels post-infection as the strongest immunocorrelate for protection (spearman's rho: -0.60). CONCLUSIONS: Both the BCG/MVA.85A prime-boost regime and the novel live attenuated, phoP deficient TB vaccine candidate SO2 showed significant protective efficacy by various parameters in rhesus macaques. Considering the phylogenetic relationship between macaque and man and the similarity in manifestations of TB disease, these data support further development of these primary and combination TB vaccine candidates.

Moorthy VS, Diggs C, Ferro S, Good MF, Herrera S, Hill AV, Imoukhuede EB, Kumar S, Loucq C, Marsh K et al. 2009. Report of a consultation on the optimization of clinical challenge trials for evaluation of candidate blood stage malaria vaccines, 18-19 March 2009, Bethesda, MD, USA. Vaccine, 27 (42), pp. 5719-5725. | Show Abstract | Read more

Development and optimization of first generation malaria vaccine candidates has been facilitated by the existence of a well-established Plasmodium falciparum clinical challenge model in which infectious sporozoites are administered to human subjects via mosquito bite. While ideal for testing pre-erythrocytic stage vaccines, some researchers believe that the sporozoite challenge model is less appropriate for testing blood stage vaccines. Here we report a consultation, co-sponsored by PATH MVI, USAID, EMVI and WHO, where scientists from all institutions globally that have conducted such clinical challenges in recent years and representatives from regulatory agencies and funding agencies met to discuss clinical malaria challenge models. Participants discussed strengthening and harmonizing the sporozoite challenge model and considered the pros and cons of further developing a blood stage challenge possibly better suited for evaluating the efficacy of blood stage vaccines. This report summarizes major findings and recommendations, including an update on the Plasmodium vivax clinical challenge model, the prospects for performing experimental challenge trials in malaria endemic countries and an update on clinical safety data. While the focus of the meeting was on the optimization of clinical challenge models for evaluation of blood stage candidate malaria vaccines, many of the considerations are relevant for the application of challenge trials to other purposes.

Whelan KT, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Fletcher HA, Poulton I, Alder NC, Hill AV, McShane H. 2009. Safety and immunogenicity of boosting BCG vaccinated subjects with BCG: comparison with boosting with a new TB vaccine, MVA85A. PLoS One, 4 (6), pp. e5934. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the safety and immunogenicity of a booster BCG vaccination delivered intradermally in healthy, BCG vaccinated subjects and to compare with a previous clinical trial where BCG vaccinated subjects were boosted with a new TB vaccine, MVA85A. DESIGN: Phase I open label observational trial, in the UK. Healthy, HIV-negative, BCG vaccinated adults were recruited and vaccinated with BCG. The primary outcome was safety; the secondary outcome was cellular immune responses to antigen 85, overlapping peptides of antigen 85A and tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) detected by ex vivo interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) ELISpot assay and flow cytometry. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: BCG revaccination (BCG-BCG) was well tolerated, and boosting of pre-existing PPD-specific T cell responses was observed. However, when these results were compared with data from a previous clinical trial, where BCG was boosted with MVA85A (BCG-MVA85A), MVA85A induced significantly higher levels (>2-fold) of antigen 85-specific CD4+ T cells (both antigen and peptide pool responses) than boosting with BCG, up to 52 weeks post-vaccination (p = 0.009). To identify antigen 85A-specific CD8+ T cells that were not detectable by ex vivo ELISpot and flow cytometry, dendritic cells (DC) were used to amplify CD8+ T cells from PBMC samples. We observed low, but detectable levels of antigen 85A-specific CD8+ T cells producing IFNgamma (1.5% of total CD8 population) in the BCG primed subjects after BCG boosting in 1 (20%) of 5 subjects. In contrast, in BCG-MVA85A vaccinated subjects, high levels of antigen 85A-specific CD8+ T cells (up to 14% total CD8 population) were observed after boosting with MVA85A, in 4 (50%) of 8 subjects evaluated. In conclusion, revaccination with BCG resulted in modest boosting of pre-existing immune responses to PPD and antigen 85, but vaccination with BCG-MVA85A induced a significantly higher response to antigen 85 and generated a higher frequency of antigen 85A-specific CD8+ T cells. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00654316 NCT00427830.

Fletcher HA, Keyser A, Bowmaker M, Sayles PC, Kaplan G, Hussey G, Hill AV, Hanekom WA. 2009. Transcriptional profiling of mycobacterial antigen-induced responses in infants vaccinated with BCG at birth. BMC Med Genomics, 2 (1), pp. 10. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Novel tuberculosis (TB) vaccines recently tested in humans have been designed to boost immunity induced by the current vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). Because BCG vaccination is used extensively in infants, this population group is likely to be the first in which efficacy trials of new vaccines will be conducted. However, our understanding of the complexity of immunity to BCG in infants is inadequate, making interpretation of vaccine-induced immune responses difficult. METHODS: To better understand BCG-induced immunity, we performed gene expression profiling in five 10-week old infants routinely vaccinated with BCG at birth. RNA was extracted from 12 hour BCG-stimulated or purified protein derivative of tuberculin (PPD)-stimulated PBMC, isolated from neonatal blood collected 10 weeks after vaccination. RNA was hybridised to the Sentrix(R) HumanRef-8 Expression BeadChip (Illumina) to measure expression of >16,000 genes. RESULTS: We found that ex vivo stimulation of PBMC with PPD and BCG induced largely similar gene expression profiles, except that BCG induced greater macrophage activation. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) signaling pathway, including PPAR-gamma, involved in activation of the alternative, anti-inflammatory macrophage response was down-regulated following stimulation with both antigens. In contrast, up-regulation of genes associated with the classic, pro-inflammatory macrophage response was noted. Further analysis revealed a decrease in the expression of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), including integrin alpha M (ITGAM), which is known to be important for entry of mycobacteria into the macrophage. Interestingly, more leukocyte genes were down-regulated than up-regulated. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that a combination of suppressed and up-regulated genes may be key in determining development of protective immunity to TB induced by vaccination with BCG.

Mwacharo J, Dunachie SJ, Kai O, Hill AVS, Bejon P, Fletcher HA. 2009. Quantitative PCR evaluation of cellular immune responses in kenyan children vaccinated with a candidate malaria vaccine PLoS ONE, 4 (12), | Read more

Beveridge NE, Fletcher HA, Hughes J, Pathan AA, Scriba TJ, Minassian A, Sander CR, Whelan KT, Dockrell HM, Hill AV et al. 2008. A comparison of IFNgamma detection methods used in tuberculosis vaccine trials. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 88 (6), pp. 631-640. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interferon gamma (IFNgamma) is a critical component of the pro-inflammatory immune response that provides protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In the absence of an immunological correlate of protection, antigen-specific production of IFNgamma is a commonly used marker of a protective immune response. To facilitate the evaluation of tuberculosis candidate vaccines three different IFNgamma detection methods were compared. The cultured whole blood ELISA, ex vivo IFNgamma ELISpot and whole blood ex vivo intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assays were performed head-to-head during a Phase I clinical trial using the candidate vaccine MVA85A. Whilst all three assays detected significant increases in IFNgamma production immediately following vaccination, distinctions between the assays were apparent. Higher baseline IFNgamma responses were detected using the cultured whole blood ELISA, whereas the ex vivo ELISpot assay was the most sensitive in detecting long-term (52 weeks) post-vaccination responses. The whole blood ex vivo ICS assay provided novel information by dissecting the IFNgamma response into responding CD4, CD8 and gamma/delta T cell subsets. Future tuberculosis vaccine trials and immunology studies should ideally include a combination of ex vivo and cultured assays to ensure a thorough and multifaceted evaluation of the immune response is achieved.

Forbes EK, Sander C, Ronan EO, McShane H, Hill AV, Beverley PC, Tchilian EZ. 2008. Multifunctional, high-level cytokine-producing Th1 cells in the lung, but not spleen, correlate with protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis aerosol challenge in mice. J Immunol, 181 (7), pp. 4955-4964. | Show Abstract

Boosting bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-primed mice with a recombinant adenovirus expressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ag 85A by different administration routes has very different effects on protection against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis. Mice boosted intradermally make very strong splenic CD4 and CD8 Th1 cytokine responses to Ag 85A, but show no change in lung mycobacterial burden over BCG primed animals. In contrast, intranasally boosted mice show greatly reduced mycobacterial burden and make a much weaker splenic response but a very strong lung CD4 and CD8 response to Ag 85A and an increased response to purified protein derivative. This effect is associated with the presence in the lung of multifunctional T cells, with high median fluorescence intensity and integrated median fluorescence intensity for IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF. In contrast, mice immunized with BCG alone have few Ag-specific cells in the lung and a low proportion of multifunctional cells, although individual cells have high median fluorescence intensity. Successful immunization regimes appear to induce Ag-specific cells with abundant intracellular cytokine staining.

Fletcher HA, Pathan AA, Berthoud TK, Dunachie SJ, Whelan KT, Alder NC, Sander CR, Hill AV, McShane H. 2008. Boosting BCG vaccination with MVA85A down-regulates the immunoregulatory cytokine TGF-beta1. Vaccine, 26 (41), pp. 5269-5275. | Show Abstract | Read more

In clinical trials recombinant-modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85A (MVA85A) induces approximately 10 times more effector T cells than any other recombinant MVA vaccine. We have found that in BCG primed subjects MVA85A vaccination reduces transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1) mRNA in peripheral blood lymphocytes and reduces TGF-beta1 protein in the serum, but increases IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses to the recall antigen SK/SD. TGF-beta1 is essential for the generation of regulatory T cells and we see a correlation across vaccinees between CD4+CD25hiFoxP3+ cells and TGF-beta1 serum levels. This apparent ability to counteract regulatory T cell effects suggests a potential use of MVA85A as an adjuvant for less immunogenic vaccines.

Schmidt NW, Podyminogin RL, Butler NS, Badovinac VP, Tucker BJ, Bahjat KS, Lauer P, Reyes-Sandoval A, Hutchings CL, Moore AC et al. 2008. Memory CD8 T cell responses exceeding a large but definable threshold provide long-term immunity to malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (37), pp. 14017-14022. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infection of mice with sporozoites of Plasmodium berghei or Plasmodium yoelii has been used extensively to evaluate liver-stage protection by candidate preerythrocytic malaria vaccines. Unfortunately, repeated success of such vaccines in mice has not translated readily to effective malaria vaccines in humans. Thus, mice may be used better as models to dissect basic parameters required for immunity to Plasmodium-infection than as preclinical vaccine models. In turn, this basic information may aid in the rational design of malaria vaccines. Here, we describe a model of circumsporozoite-specific memory CD8 T cell generation that protects mice against multiple P. berghei sporozoite challenges for at least 19 months. Using this model we defined a threshold frequency of memory CD8 T cells in the blood that predicts long-term sterilizing immunity against liver-stage infection. Importantly, the number of Plasmodium-specific memory CD8 T cells required for immunity greatly exceeds the number required for resistance to other pathogens. In addition, this model allowed us to identify readily individual immunized mice that exceed or fall below the protective threshold before infection, information that should greatly facilitate studies to dissect basic mechanisms of protective CD8 T cell memory against liver-stage Plasmodium infection. Furthermore, the extremely large threshold in memory CD8 T cell frequencies required for long-term protection in mice may have important implications for development of effective malaria vaccines.

Hawkridge T, Scriba TJ, Gelderbloem S, Smit E, Tameris M, Moyo S, Lang T, Veldsman A, Hatherill M, Merwe LV et al. 2008. Safety and immunogenicity of a new tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A, in healthy adults in South Africa. J Infect Dis, 198 (4), pp. 544-552. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The efficacy of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be enhanced by heterologous vaccination strategies that boost the BCG-primed immune response. One leading booster vaccine, MVA85A (where "MVA" denotes "modified vaccinia virus Ankara"), has shown promising safety and immunogenicity in human trials performed in the United Kingdom. We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A in mycobacteria-exposed--but Mycobacterium tuberculosis-uninfected--healthy adults from a region of South Africa where TB is endemic. METHODS: Twenty-four adults were vaccinated with MVA85A. All subjects were monitored for 1 year for adverse events and for immunological assessment. RESULTS: MVA85A vaccination was well tolerated and induced potent T cell responses, as measured by interferon (IFN)-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assay, which exceeded prevaccination responses up to 364 days after vaccination. BCG-specific CD4+ T cells boosted by MVA85A were comprised of multiple populations expressing combinations of IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-17, as measured by polychromatic flow cytometry. IFN-gamma-expressing and polyfunctional IFN-gamma+TNF-gamma+IL-2+ CD4+ T cells were boosted during the peak BCG-specific response, which occurred 7 days after vaccination. CONCLUSION: The excellent safety profile and quantitative and qualitative immunogenicity data strongly support further trials assessing the efficacy of MVA85A as a boosting vaccine in countries where TB is endemic. TRIAL REGISTRATION: identifier: NCT00460590.

Brookes RH, Hill PC, Owiafe PK, Ibanga HB, Jeffries DJ, Donkor SA, Fletcher HA, Hammond AS, Lienhardt C, Adegbola RA et al. 2008. Safety and immunogenicity of the candidate tuberculosis vaccine MVA85A in West Africa. PLoS One, 3 (8), pp. e2921. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vaccination with a recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara expressing antigen 85A from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, MVA85A, induces high levels of cellular immune responses in UK volunteers. We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of this new vaccine in West African volunteers. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We vaccinated 21 healthy adult male subjects (11 BCG scar negative and 10 BCG scar positive) with MVA85A after screening for evidence of prior exposure to mycobacteria. We monitored them over six months, observing for clinical, haematological and biochemical adverse events, together with assessment of the vaccine induced cellular immune response using ELISPOT and flow cytometry. MVA85A was well tolerated with no significant adverse events. Mild local and systemic adverse events were consistent with previous UK trials. Marked immunogenicity was found whether individuals had a previous BCG scar or not. There was not enhanced immunogenicity in those with a BCG scar, and induced T cell responses were better maintained in apparently BCG-naïve Gambians than previously studied BCG-naïve UK vaccinees. Although responses were predominantly attributable to CD4+ T cells, we also identified antigen specific CD8+ T cell responses, in subjects who were HLA B-35 and in whom enough blood was available for more detailed immunological analysis. CONCLUSIONS: These data on the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A in West Africa support its accelerated development as a promising booster vaccine for tuberculosis. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00423839.

Draper SJ, Moore AC, Goodman AL, Long CA, Holder AA, Gilbert SC, Hill F, Hill AV. 2008. Effective induction of high-titer antibodies by viral vector vaccines. Nat Med, 14 (8), pp. 819-821. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protein-in-adjuvant vaccines have shown limited success against difficult diseases such as blood-stage malaria. Here we show that a recombinant adenovirus-poxvirus prime-boost immunization regime (known to induce strong T cell immunogenicity) can also induce very strong antigen-specific antibody responses, and we identify a simple complement-based adjuvant to further enhance immunogenicity. Antibodies induced against a blood-stage malaria antigen by this viral vector platform are highly effective against Plasmodium yoelii parasites in mice and against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro.

Bayry J, Tchilian EZ, Davies MN, Forbes EK, Draper SJ, Kaveri SV, Hill AV, Kazatchkine MD, Beverley PC, Flower DR, Tough DF. 2008. In silico identified CCR4 antagonists target regulatory T cells and exert adjuvant activity in vaccination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (29), pp. 10221-10226. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adjuvants are substances that enhance immune responses and thus improve the efficacy of vaccination. Few adjuvants are available for use in humans, and the one that is most commonly used (alum) often induces suboptimal immunity for protection against many pathogens. There is thus an obvious need to develop new and improved adjuvants. We have therefore taken an approach to adjuvant discovery that uses in silico modeling and structure-based drug-design. As proof-of-principle we chose to target the interaction of the chemokines CCL22 and CCL17 with their receptor CCR4. CCR4 was posited as an adjuvant target based on its expression on CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), which negatively regulate immune responses induced by dendritic cells (DC), whereas CCL17 and CCL22 are chemotactic agents produced by DC, which are crucial in promoting contact between DC and CCR4(+) T cells. Molecules identified by virtual screening and molecular docking as CCR4 antagonists were able to block CCL22- and CCL17-mediated recruitment of human Tregs and Th2 cells. Furthermore, CCR4 antagonists enhanced DC-mediated human CD4(+) T cell proliferation in an in vitro immune response model and amplified cellular and humoral immune responses in vivo in experimental models when injected in combination with either Modified Vaccinia Ankara expressing Ag85A from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MVA85A) or recombinant hepatitis B virus surface antigen (rHBsAg) vaccines. The significant adjuvant activity observed provides good evidence supporting our hypothesis that CCR4 is a viable target for rational adjuvant design.

Cooke GS, Campbell SJ, Bennett S, Lienhardt C, McAdam KP, Sirugo G, Sow O, Gustafson P, Mwangulu F, van Helden P et al. 2008. Mapping of a novel susceptibility locus suggests a role for MC3R and CTSZ in human tuberculosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 178 (2), pp. 203-207. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Tuberculosis remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world. A better understanding of the mechanisms of disease protection could allow novel strategies to disease management and control. OBJECTIVES: To identify human genomic loci with evidence of linkage to tuberculosis susceptibility and, within these loci, to identify individual genes influencing tuberculosis susceptibility. METHODS: Affected sibling pair analysis in South African and Malawian populations. Independent case-control study in West Africa. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Two novel putative loci for tuberculosis susceptibility are identified: chromosome 6p21-q23 and chromosome 20q13.31-33--the latter with the strongest evidence for any locus reported to date in human tuberculosis (single point LOD score of 3.1, P = 10(-4), with a maximum likelihood score [MLS] of 2.8). An independent, multistage genetic association study in West African populations mapped this latter region in detail, finding evidence that variation in the melanocortin 3 receptor (MC3R) and cathepsin Z (CTSZ) genes play a role in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate how a genomewide approach to the complex phenotype of human tuberculosis can identify novel targets for further research.

Sanderson F, Andrews L, Douglas AD, Hunt-Cooke A, Bejon P, Hill AV. 2008. Blood-stage challenge for malaria vaccine efficacy trials: a pilot study with discussion of safety and potential value. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (6), pp. 878-883. | Show Abstract

There is increasing interest in malaria vaccines targeting the asexual blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum. Without accepted immunologic correlates of clinical protection, challenge studies are useful for assessing the efficacy of candidate vaccines in vivo in healthy volunteers. We report a pilot study of a safe and robust challenge protocol using a blood-stage inoculum. We have applied well-validated trial endpoints and twice daily real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction monitoring of parasitemia to blood-stage challenge, which enabled direct comparison with sporozoite challenge. We found that greater accuracy in quantification of blood-stage growth rates can be achieved with blood-stage challenge. This finding may provide greater power to detect partial efficacy of many blood-stage candidate vaccines. We discuss the potential utility of blood-stage challenge studies in accelerating malaria vaccine development.

Hennig BJ, Fry AE, Hirai K, Tahara H, Tamori A, Moller M, Hopkin J, Hill AV, Bodmer W, Beverley P, Tchilian E. 2008. PTPRC (CD45) variation and disease association studied using single nucleotide polymorphism tagging. Tissue Antigens, 71 (5), pp. 458-463. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD45 is a haemopoietic tyrosine phosphatase, crucial for lymphocyte signalling. Two polymorphisms (C77G and A138G), which alter CD45 isoform expression, are associated with autoimmune and infectious diseases. Using HapMap data, we show that there is substantial linkage disequilibrium across the CD45 gene (PTPRC), with similar patterns in different populations. Employing a set of single nucleotide polymorphisms, correlated with a substantial proportion of variation across this gene, we tested for association with type 1 diabetes, Graves' disease in a Japanese population, hepatitis C in UK population and tuberculin response in a Chinese population. A limited number of common haplotypes was found. Most 138G alleles are present on only one haplotype, which is associated with Graves' disease, supporting previous data that A138G is a functionally important CD45 polymorphism.

Sridhar S, Reyes-Sandoval A, Draper SJ, Moore AC, Gilbert SC, Gao GP, Wilson JM, Hill AV. 2008. Single-dose protection against Plasmodium berghei by a simian adenovirus vector using a human cytomegalovirus promoter containing intron A. J Virol, 82 (8), pp. 3822-3833. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human adenovirus serotype 5 (AdH5) vector vaccines elicit strong immune responses to the encoded antigen and have been used in various disease models. We designed AdH5 vectors expressing antigen under the control of a human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) immediate-early promoter containing its intron A sequence. The transcriptional levels of antigen and immune responses to antigen for vectors with the HCMV promoter with the intron A sequence (LP) were greater than those for AdH5 vectors using the HCMV promoter sequence without intron A (SP). We compared an E1E3-deleted AdH5 adenoviral vector, which affords more space for insertion of foreign sequences, and showed it to be as immunogenic as an E1-deleted AdH5 vector. Neutralizing antibodies to AdH5 limit the efficacy of vaccines based on the AdH5 serotype, and simian adenoviral vectors offer an attractive option to overcome this problem. We constructed E1E3-deleted human and simian adenoviral vectors encoding the pre-erythrocytic-stage malarial antigen Plasmodium berghei circumsporozoite protein. We compared the immunogenicity and efficacy of AdC6, a recombinant simian adenovirus serotype 6 vector, in a murine malaria model to those of AdH5 and the poxviral vectors MVA and FP9. AdC6 induced sterile protection from a single dose in 90% of mice, in contrast to AdH5 (25%) and poxviral vectors MVA and FP9 (0%). Adenoviral vectors maintained potent CD8(+) T-cell responses for a longer period after immunization than did poxviral vectors and mainly induced an effector memory phenotype of cells. Significantly, AdC6 was able to maintain protection in the presence of preexisting immunity to AdH5.

Hennig BJ, Fielding K, Broxholme J, Diatta M, Mendy M, Moore C, Pollard AJ, Rayco-Solon P, Sirugo G, van der Sande MA et al. 2008. Host genetic factors and vaccine-induced immunity to hepatitis B virus infection. PLoS One, 3 (3), pp. e1898. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vaccination against hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is safe and effective; however, vaccine-induced antibody level wanes over time. Peak vaccine-induced anti-HBs level is directly related to antibody decay, as well as risk of infection and persistent carriage despite vaccination. We investigated the role of host genetic factors in long-term immunity against HBV infection based on peak anti-HBs level and seroconversion to anti-HBc. METHODS: We analyzed 715 SNP across 133 candidate genes in 662 infant vaccinees from The Gambia, assessing peak vaccine-induced anti-HBs level and core antibody (anti-HBc) status, whilst adjusting for covariates. A replication study comprised 43 SNPs in a further 393 individuals. RESULTS: In our initial screen we found variation in IFNG, MAPK8, and IL10RA to affect peak anti-HBs level (GMTratio of < 0.6 or > 1.5 and P < or = 0.001) and lesser associations in other genes. Odds of core-conversion was associated with variation in CD163. A coding change in ITGAL (R719V) with likely functional relevance showed evidence of association with increased peak anti-HBs level in both screens (1st screen: s595_22 GMTratio 1.71, P = 0.013; 2nd screen: s595_22 GMTratio 2.15, P = 0.011). CONCLUSION: This is to our knowledge the largest study to date assessing genetic determinants of HBV vaccine-induced immunity. We report on associations with anti-HBs level, which is directly related to durability of antibody level and predictive of vaccine efficacy long-term. A coding change in ITGAL, which plays a central role in immune cell interaction, was shown to exert beneficial effects on induction of peak antibody level in response to HBV vaccination. Variation in this gene does not appear to have been studied in relation to immune responses to viral or vaccine challenges previously. Our findings suggest that genetic variation in loci other than the HLA region affect immunity induced by HBV vaccination.

Khor CC, Chapman SJ, Vannberg FO, Hill AV, O'Neill LA. 2008. Analysis of association of the TIRAP (MAL) S180L variant and tuberculosis in three populations - Reply NATURE GENETICS, 40 (3), pp. 262-263. | Read more

Reyes-Sandoval A, Sridhar S, Berthoud T, Moore AC, Harty JT, Gilbert SC, Gao G, Ertl HC, Wilson JC, Hill AV. 2008. Single-dose immunogenicity and protective efficacy of simian adenoviral vectors against Plasmodium berghei. Eur J Immunol, 38 (3), pp. 732-741. | Show Abstract | Read more

Simian adenoviral vectors (SAd) offer an attractive alternative to standard human adenovirus serotype 5 (AdH5) subunit vaccination, due to pre-existing immunity affecting vaccine performance. We have used a mouse model of liver-stage malaria to test the efficiency of three chimpanzee-origin adenoviral vectors, AdC6, AdC7 and AdC9 containing ME.TRAP as an insert. AdC7 and AdC9 elicited strong immunogenicity ( approximately 20% of CD8(+) T cells in spleen), equivalent to or outperforming AdH5 and inducing sterile protection in 92% (C9), 83% (H5 and C7) and 67% (C6) of the mice, providing the first evidence of single-dose protection to Plasmodium berghei. Protection was afforded by the SAd despite high levels of pre-existing immunity to AdH5. Phenotypic analysis showed that all adenoviral vectors (Ad) elicited CD8(+) T cell responses with an effector memory T cell (T(EM)) phenotype. By contrast, vaccination with poxviral vectors did not confer protection to P. berghei and induced a predominantly CD8(+) central memory T cell (T(CM)) response. Multifunctional CD8(+) T cell responses (co-expressing IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-2) were also induced by the Ad in higher percentages than the poxviral vectors. Our data suggest that T(EM) cells are important as a first line of defense against fast-replicating pathogens such as murine Plasmodium and demonstrate the potential of replication-defective SAd as future malaria vaccines for humans.

Bejon P, Mwangi TW, Lowe B, Peshu N, Hill AV, Marsh K. 2008. Helminth infection and eosinophilia and the risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in 1- to 6-year-old children in a malaria endemic area. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2 (1), pp. e164. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Helminth infection is common in malaria endemic areas, and an interaction between the two would be of considerable public health importance. Animal models suggest that helminth infections may increase susceptibility to malaria, but epidemiological data has been limited and contradictory. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a vaccine trial, we studied 387 one- to six-year-old children for the effect of helminth infections on febrile Plasmodium falciparum malaria episodes. Gastrointestinal helminth infection and eosinophilia were prevalent (25% and 50% respectively), but did not influence susceptibility to malaria. Hazard ratios were 1 for gastrointestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.6-1.6) and 0.85 and 0.85 for mild and marked eosinophilia, respectively (95% CI 0.56-1.76 and 0.69-1.96). Incident rate ratios for multiple episodes were 0.83 for gastro-intestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.5-1.33) and 0.86 and 0.98 for mild and marked eosinophilia (95% CI 0.5-1.4 and 0.6-1.5). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: There was no evidence that infection with gastrointestinal helminths or urinary schistosomiasis increased susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria in this study. Larger studies including populations with a greater prevalence of helminth infection should be undertaken.

Vannberg FO, Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Tosh K, Floyd S, Jackson-Sillah D, Crampin A, Sichali L, Bah B, Gustafson P et al. 2008. CD209 genetic polymorphism and tuberculosis disease. PLoS One, 3 (1), pp. e1388. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. DC-SIGN, encoded by CD209, is a receptor capable of binding and internalizing Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Previous studies have reported that the CD209 promoter single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-336A/G exerts an effect on CD209 expression and is associated with human susceptibility to dengue, HIV-1 and tuberculosis in humans. The present study investigates the role of the CD209 -336A/G variant in susceptibility to tuberculosis in a large sample of individuals from sub-Saharan Africa. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A total of 2,176 individuals enrolled in tuberculosis case-control studies from four sub-Saharan Africa countries were genotyped for the CD209 -336A/G SNP (rs4804803). Significant overall protection against pulmonary tuberculosis was observed with the -336G allele when the study groups were combined (n = 914 controls vs. 1262 cases, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2) = 7.47, P = 0.006, odds ratio = 0.86, 95%CI 0.77-0.96). In addition, the patients with -336GG were associated with a decreased risk of cavitory tuberculosis, a severe form of tuberculosis disease (n = 557, Pearson's 2x2 chi(2) = 17.34, P = 0.00003, odds ratio = 0.42, 95%CI 0.27-0.65). This direction of association is opposite to a previously observed result in a smaller study of susceptibility to tuberculosis in a South African Coloured population, but entirely in keeping with the previously observed protective effect of the -336G allele. CONCLUSION: This study finds that the CD209 -336G variant allele is associated with significant protection against tuberculosis in individuals from sub-Saharan Africa and, furthermore, cases with -336GG were significantly less likely to develop tuberculosis-induced lung cavitation. Previous in vitro work demonstrated that the promoter variant -336G allele causes down-regulation of CD209 mRNA expression. Our present work suggests that decreased levels of the DC-SIGN receptor may therefore be protective against both clinical tuberculosis in general and cavitory tuberculosis disease in particular. This is consistent with evidence that Mycobacteria can utilize DC-SIGN binding to suppress the protective pro-inflammatory immune response.

Todryk SM, Bejon P, Mwangi T, Plebanski M, Urban B, Marsh K, Hill AV, Flanagan KL. 2008. Correlation of memory T cell responses against TRAP with protection from clinical malaria, and CD4 CD25 high T cells with susceptibility in Kenyans. PLoS One, 3 (4), pp. e2027. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Immunity to malaria develops naturally in endemic regions, but the protective immune mechanisms are poorly understood. Many vaccination strategies aim to induce T cells against diverse pre-erythrocytic antigens, but correlates of protection in the field have been limited. The objective of this study was to investigate cell-mediated immune correlates of protection in natural malaria. Memory T cells reactive against thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP) and circumsporozoite (CS) protein, major vaccine candidate antigens, were measured, as were frequencies of CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells, which may suppress immunity, and CD56(+) NK cells and gammadelta T cells, which may be effectors or may modulate immunity. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 112 healthy volunteers living in rural Kenya were entered in the study. Memory T cells reactive against TRAP and CS were measured using a cultured IFNgamma ELISPOT approach, whilst CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells, CD56(+) NK cells, and gammadelta T cells were measured by flow cytometry. We found that T cell responses against TRAP were established early in life (<5 years) in contrast to CS, and cultured ELISPOT memory T cell responses did not correlate with ex-vivo IFNgamma ELISPOT effector responses. Data was examined for associations with risk of clinical malaria for a period of 300 days. Multivariate logistic analysis incorporating age and CS response showed that cultured memory T cell responses against TRAP were associated with a significantly reduced incidence of malaria (p = 0.028). This was not seen for CS responses. Higher numbers of CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells, potentially regulatory T cells, were associated with a significantly increased risk of clinical malaria (p = 0.039). CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate a role for central memory T cells in natural malarial immunity and support current vaccination strategies aimed at inducing durable protective T cell responses against the TRAP antigen. They also suggest that CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells may negatively affect naturally acquired malarial immunity.

Thompson FM, Porter DW, Okitsu SL, Westerfeld N, Vogel D, Todryk S, Poulton I, Correa S, Hutchings C, Berthoud T et al. 2008. Evidence of blood stage efficacy with a virosomal malaria vaccine in a phase IIa clinical trial. PLoS One, 3 (1), pp. e1493. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Previous research indicates that a combination vaccine targeting different stages of the malaria life cycle is likely to provide the most effective malaria vaccine. This trial was the first to combine two existing vaccination strategies to produce a vaccine that induces immune responses to both the pre-erythrocytic and blood stages of the P. falciparum life cycle. METHODS: This was a Phase I/IIa study of a new combination malaria vaccine FFM ME-TRAP+PEV3A. PEV3A includes peptides from both the pre-erythrocytic circumsporozoite protein and the blood-stage antigen AMA-1. This study was conducted at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. The participants were healthy, malaria naïve volunteers, from Oxford. The interventions were vaccination with PEV3A alone, or PEV3A+FFM ME-TRAP. The main outcome measure was protection from malaria in a sporozoite challenge model. Other outcomes included measures of parasite specific immune responses induced by either vaccine; and safety, assessed by collection of adverse event data. RESULTS: We observed evidence of blood stage immunity in PEV3A vaccinated volunteers, but no volunteers were completely protected from malaria. PEV3A induced high antibody titres, and antibodies bound parasites in immunofluorescence assays. Moreover, we observed boosting of the vaccine-induced immune response by sporozoite challenge. Immune responses induced by FFM ME-TRAP were unexpectedly low. The vaccines were safe, with comparable side effect profiles to previous trials. Although there was no sterile protection two major observations support an effect of the vaccine-induced response on blood stage parasites: (i) Lower rates of parasite growth were observed in volunteers vaccinated with PEV3A compared to unvaccinated controls (p = 0.012), and this was reflected in the PCR results from PEV3A vaccinated volunteers. These showed early control of parasitaemia by some volunteers in this group. One volunteer, who received PEV3A alone, was diagnosed very late, on day 20 compared to an average of 11.8 days in unvaccinated controls. (ii). Morphologically abnormal parasites were present in the blood of all (n = 24) PEV3A vaccinated volunteers, and in only 2/6 controls (p = 0.001). We describe evidence of vaccine-induced blood stage efficacy for the first time in a sporozoite challenge study.

Bejon P, Mwangi TW, Lowe B, Peshu N, Hill AVS, Marsh K. 2008. Helminth infection and eosinophilia and the risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in 1- to 6-year-old children in a malaria endemic area PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2 (2), | Read more

Cottingham MG, Andersen RF, Spencer AJ, Saurya S, Furze J, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2008. Recombination-mediated genetic engineering of a bacterial artificial chromosome clone of modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). PLoS One, 3 (2), pp. e1638. | Show Abstract | Read more

The production, manipulation and rescue of a bacterial artificial chromosome clone of Vaccinia virus (VAC-BAC) in order to expedite construction of expression vectors and mutagenesis of the genome has been described (Domi & Moss, 2002, PNAS99 12415-20). The genomic BAC clone was 'rescued' back to infectious virus using a Fowlpox virus helper to supply transcriptional machinery. We apply here a similar approach to the attenuated strain Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), now widely used as a safe non-replicating recombinant vaccine vector in mammals, including humans. Four apparently full-length, rescuable clones were obtained, which had indistinguishable immunogenicity in mice. One clone was shotgun sequenced and found to be identical to the parent. We employed GalK recombination-mediated genetic engineering (recombineering) of MVA-BAC to delete five selected viral genes. Deletion of C12L, A44L, A46R or B7R did not significantly affect CD8(+) T cell immunogenicity in BALB/c mice, but deletion of B15R enhanced specific CD8(+) T cell responses to one of two endogenous viral epitopes (from the E2 and F2 proteins), in accordance with published work (Staib et al., 2005, J. Gen. Virol.86, 1997-2006). In addition, we found a higher frequency of triple-positive IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-2 secreting E3-specific CD8+ T-cells 8 weeks after vaccination with MVA lacking B15R. Furthermore, a recombinant vaccine capable of inducing CD8(+) T cells against an epitope from Plasmodium berghei was created using GalK counterselection to insert an antigen expression cassette lacking a tandem marker gene into the traditional thymidine kinase locus of MVA-BAC. MVA continues to feature prominently in clinical trials of recombinant vaccines against diseases such as HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Here we demonstrate in proof-of-concept experiments that MVA-BAC recombineering is a viable route to more rapid and efficient generation of new candidate mutant and recombinant vaccines based on a clinically deployable viral vector.

Khor CC, Chapman SJ, Vannberg FO, Hill AVS, O'Neill LAJ. 2008. Reply to: Analysis of association of the TIRAP (MAL) S180L variant and tuberculosis in three populations Nature Genetics, 40 (3), pp. 262-263. | Read more

Sinden RE, Dawes EJ, Alavi Y, Waldock J, Finney O, Mendoza J, Butcher GA, Andrews L, Hill AV, Gilbert SC, Basáñez MG. 2007. Progression of Plasmodium berghei through Anopheles stephensi is density-dependent. PLoS Pathog, 3 (12), pp. e195. | Show Abstract | Read more

It is well documented that the density of Plasmodium in its vertebrate host modulates the physiological response induced; this in turn regulates parasite survival and transmission. It is less clear that parasite density in the mosquito regulates survival and transmission of this important pathogen. Numerous studies have described conversion rates of Plasmodium from one life stage to the next within the mosquito, yet few have considered that these rates might vary with parasite density. Here we establish infections with defined numbers of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei to examine how parasite density at each stage of development (gametocytes; ookinetes; oocysts and sporozoites) influences development to the ensuing stage in Anopheles stephensi, and thus the delivery of infectious sporozoites to the vertebrate host. We show that every developmental transition exhibits strong density dependence, with numbers of the ensuing stages saturating at high density. We further show that when fed ookinetes at very low densities, oocyst development is facilitated by increasing ookinete number (i.e., the efficiency of ookinete-oocyst transformation follows a sigmoid relationship). We discuss how observations on this model system generate important hypotheses for the understanding of malaria biology, and how these might guide the rational analysis of interventions against the transmission of the malaria parasites of humans by their diverse vector species.

Hutchings CL, Birkett AJ, Moore AC, Hill AV. 2007. Combination of protein and viral vaccines induces potent cellular and humoral immune responses and enhanced protection from murine malaria challenge. Infect Immun, 75 (12), pp. 5819-5826. | Show Abstract | Read more

The search for an efficacious vaccine against malaria is ongoing, and it is now widely believed that to confer protection a vaccine must induce very strong cellular and humoral immunity concurrently. We studied the immune response in mice immunized with the recombinant viral vaccines fowlpox strain FP9 and modified virus Ankara (MVA), a protein vaccine (CV-1866), or a combination of the two; all vaccines express parts of the same preerythrocytic malaria antigen, the Plasmodium berghei circumsporozoite protein (CSP). Mice were then challenged with P. berghei sporozoites to determine the protective efficacies of different vaccine regimens. Two immunizations with the protein vaccine CV-1866, based on the hepatitis B core antigen particle, induced strong humoral immunity to the repeat region of CSP that was weakly protective against sporozoite challenge. Prime-boost with the viral vector vaccines, FP9 followed by MVA, induced strong T-cell immunity to the CD8+ epitope Pb9 and partially protected animals from challenge. Physically mixing CV-1866 with FP9 or MVA and then immunizing with the resultant combinations in a prime-boost regimen induced both cellular and humoral immunity and afforded substantially higher levels of protection (combination, 90%) than either vaccine alone (CV-1866, 12%; FP9/MVA, 37%). For diseases such as malaria in which different potent immune responses are required to protect against different stages, using combinations of partially effective vaccines may offer a more rapid route to achieving deployable levels of efficacy than individual vaccine strategies.

O'Sullivan DM, Sander C, Shorten RJ, Gillespie SH, Hill AVS, McHugh TD, McShane H, Tchilian EZ. 2007. Evaluation of liquid culture for quantitation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in murine models VACCINE, 25 (49), pp. 8203-8205. | Read more

Bejon P, Mwangi T, Lowe B, Peshu N, Hill AV, Marsh K. 2007. Clearing asymptomatic parasitaemia increases the specificity of the definition of mild febrile malaria. Vaccine, 25 (48), pp. 8198-8202. | Show Abstract | Read more

In clinical trials, the specificity of the disease endpoint is critical to an accurate estimate of vaccine efficacy. We used a logistic regression model to analyse parasite densities among children before and after treatment with antimalarials, in order to estimate the impact that clearing asymptomatic parasitaemia had on the specificity of the endpoint of febrile malaria. The malaria attributable fever fraction was higher after antimalarial treatment (i.e. fever and parasitaemia were more likely to be causally related), implying that drug treatment prior to monitoring decreased the misclassification of febrile malaria. In intervention studies with febrile malaria as an endpoint, clearing asymptomatic parasitaemia increases the study's power more effectively than raising the threshold parasitaemia.

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Australo-Anglo-American Spondylitis Consortium (TASC), Burton PR, Clayton DG, Cardon LR, Craddock N, Deloukas P, Duncanson A, Kwiatkowski DP, McCarthy MI et al. 2007. Association scan of 14,500 nonsynonymous SNPs in four diseases identifies autoimmunity variants. Nat Genet, 39 (11), pp. 1329-1337. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have genotyped 14,436 nonsynonymous SNPs (nsSNPs) and 897 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) tag SNPs from 1,000 independent cases of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD), multiple sclerosis (MS) and breast cancer (BC). Comparing these data against a common control dataset derived from 1,500 randomly selected healthy British individuals, we report initial association and independent replication in a North American sample of two new loci related to ankylosing spondylitis, ARTS1 and IL23R, and confirmation of the previously reported association of AITD with TSHR and FCRL3. These findings, enabled in part by increased statistical power resulting from the expansion of the control reference group to include individuals from the other disease groups, highlight notable new possibilities for autoimmune regulation and suggest that IL23R may be a common susceptibility factor for the major 'seronegative' diseases.

Beveridge NE, Price DA, Casazza JP, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Asher TE, Ambrozak DR, Precopio ML, Scheinberg P, Alder NC et al. 2007. Immunisation with BCG and recombinant MVA85A induces long-lasting, polyfunctional Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific CD4+ memory T lymphocyte populations. Eur J Immunol, 37 (11), pp. 3089-3100. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the search for effective vaccines against intracellular pathogens such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, recombinant viral vectors are increasingly being used to boost previously primed T cell responses. Published data have shown prime-boost vaccination with BCG-MVA85A (modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A) to be highly immunogenic in humans as measured by ex vivo IFN-gamma ELISPOT. Here, we used polychromatic flow cytometry to investigate the phenotypic and functional profile of these vaccine-induced Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) antigen 85A-specific responses in greater detail. Promisingly, antigen 85A-specific CD4(+) T cells were found to be highly polyfunctional, producing IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-2 and MIP-1beta. Surface staining showed the responding CD4(+) T cells to be relatively immature (CD45RO(+) CD27(int)CD57(-)); this observation was supported by the robust proliferative responses observed following antigenic stimulation. Furthermore, these phenotypic and functional properties were independent of clonotypic composition and epitope specificity, which was maintained through the different phases of the vaccine-induced immune response. Overall, these data strongly support the use of MVA85A in humans as a boosting agent to expand polyfunctional M.tb-specific CD4(+) T cells capable of significant secondary responses.

Pathan AA, Sander CR, Fletcher HA, Poulton I, Alder NC, Beveridge NER, Whelan KT, Hill AVS, McShane H. 2007. Boosting BCG with Recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara Expressing Antigen 85A: Different Boosting Intervals and Implications for Efficacy Trials PLOS ONE, 2 (10), | Read more

Hennig BJ, Frodsham AJ, Hellier S, Knapp S, Yee LJ, Wright M, Zhang L, Thomas HC, Thursz M, Hill AV. 2007. Influence of IL-10RA and IL-22 polymorphisms on outcome of hepatitis C virus infection. Liver Int, 27 (8), pp. 1134-1143. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Two receptor chains, IL-10RA and IL-10RB, are known to mediate the functions of interleukin-10 (IL-10), which has been shown to be involved in the progression of persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Little information is available on the role of host genetic variation in IL-10 receptor genes and outcome of HCV infection. IL-22, an IL-10 homologue, shares the IL-10RB receptor chain with IL-10 and has antiviral properties. We investigated the possible role of polymorphisms in the IL-10RA and IL-22 genes in hepatitis C disease pathogenesis. METHODS: This study population consisted of 631 HCV patients, recruited from several hepatology clinics across Europe. We genotyped four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL-10RA and six SNPs in the IL-22 gene by ligation detection reaction or restriction fragment length polymorphism. Outcome of HCV infection was assessed according to viral clearance, treatment response, severity of fibrosis and overall inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Variation in IL-10RA appeared to be correlated with response to treatment and inflammation. Two SNPs in IL-22 affected treatment response and viral clearance respectively. We furthermore report on allele and haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium for IL-10RA and IL-22. Our results indicate that genetic variation in these genes may play a modulatory role in the outcome of hepatitis C infection.

Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Chapman SJ, Walley A, Aucan C, Loke H, White NJ, Peto T, Khor LK, Kwiatkowski D et al. 2007. Positive replication and linkage disequilibrium mapping of the chromosome 21q22.1 malaria susceptibility locus. Genes Immun, 8 (7), pp. 570-576. | Show Abstract | Read more

Four cytokine receptor genes are located on Chr21q22.11, encoding the alpha and beta subunits of the interferon-alpha receptor (IFNAR1 and IFNAR2), the beta subunit of the interleukin 10 receptor (IL10RB) and the second subunit of the interferon-gamma receptor (IFNGR2). We previously reported that two variants in IFNAR1 were associated with susceptibility to malaria in Gambians. We now present an extensive fine-scale mapping of the associated region utilizing 45 additional genetic markers obtained from public databases and by sequencing a 44 kb region in and around the IFNAR1 gene in 24 Gambian children (12 cases/12 controls). Within the IFNAR1 gene, a newly studied C --> G single-nucleotide polymorphism (IFNAR1 272354c-g) at position -576 relative to the transcription start was found to be more strongly associated with susceptibility to severe malaria. Association was observed in three populations: in Gambian (P=0.002), Kenyan (P=0.022) and Vietnamese (P=0.005) case-control studies. When all three studies were combined, using the Mantel-Haenszel test, the presence of IFNAR1 -576G was associated with a substantially elevated risk of severe malaria (N=2444, OR=1.38, 95% CI: 1.17-1.64; P=1.7 x 10(-4)). This study builds on previous work to further highlight the importance of the type-I interferon pathway in malaria susceptibility and illustrates the utility of typing SNPs within regions of high linkage disequilibrium in multiple populations to confirm initial positive associations.

Bejon P, Mwacharo J, Kai O, Todryk S, Keating S, Lowe B, Lang T, Mwangi TW, Gilbert SC, Peshu N et al. 2007. The induction and persistence of T cell IFN-gamma responses after vaccination or natural exposure is suppressed by Plasmodium falciparum. J Immunol, 179 (6), pp. 4193-4201. | Show Abstract

Epidemiological observations suggest that T cell immunity may be suppressed in malaria-endemic areas. In vitro studies, animal models, and limited data in humans link immunosuppression with malaria, malnutrition, and other parasitic infections. However, there are no data to determine whether malaria-induced immunosuppression is significant in the long-term, or relative data comparing it with other factors in malaria-endemic areas, so as to measure the impact of malaria, other parasitic disease, nutritional status, age. and location on the acquisition and longevity of IFN-gamma responses in children in Kenya. We studied these factors in two cohorts of 1- to 6-year-old children in a malaria-endemic area. T cell responses were induced by vaccination in one cohort, and acquired as a result of natural exposure in a second cohort. Serial ELISPOT assays conducted over a 1-year period measured the induction and kinetics of IFN-gamma production in response to the malaria Ag thrombospondin-related adhesion protein. Induced responses in both cohorts and the longevity of response in the vaccinated cohort were fitted to potential explanatory variables. Parasitemia was prospectively associated with reduced IFN-gamma-producing T cells in both cohorts (by 15-25%), and both parasitemia and episodes of febrile malaria were associated with 19 and 31% greater attrition of T cell responses, respectively. Malaria may reduce the efficacy vaccinations such as bacillus Calmette-Guérin and investigational T cell-inducing vaccines, and may delay the acquisition of immunity following natural exposure to malaria and other pathogens.

Bejon P, Ogada E, Mwangi T, Milligan P, Lang T, Fegan G, Gilbert SC, Peshu N, Marsh K, Hill AV. 2007. Extended follow-up following a phase 2b randomized trial of the candidate malaria vaccines FP9 ME-TRAP and MVA ME-TRAP among children in Kenya. PLoS One, 2 (8), pp. e707. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: "FFM ME-TRAP" is sequential immunisation with two attenuated poxvirus vectors (FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara) delivering the pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen ME-TRAP. Over nine months follow-up in our original study, there was no evidence that FFM ME-TRAP provided protection against malaria. The incidence of malaria was slightly higher in children who received FFM ME-TRAP, but this was not statistically significant (hazard ratio 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.3). Although the study was unblinded, another nine months follow-up was planned to monitor the incidence of malaria and other serious adverse events. METHODS AND FINDINGS: 405 children aged 1-6 yrs were initially randomized to vaccination with either FFM ME-TRAP or control (rabies vaccine). 380 children were still available for follow-up after the first nine months. Children were seen weekly and whenever they were unwell for nine months monitoring. The axillary temperature was measured, and blood films taken when febrile. The primary analysis was time to parasitaemia >2,500/microl. During the second nine months monitoring, 49 events met the primary endpoint (febrile malaria with parasites >2,500/microl) in the Intention To Treat (ITT) group. 23 events occurred among the 189 children in the FFM ME-TRAP group, and 26 among the 194 children in the control group. In the full 18 months of monitoring, there were 63 events in the FFM ME-TRAP group and 60 in the control group (HR = 1.2, CI 0.84-1.73, p = 0.35). There was no evidence that the HR changed over the 18 months (test for interaction between time and vaccination p = 0.11). CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination with FFM ME-TRAP was not protective against malaria in this study. Malaria incidence during 18 months of surveillance was similar in both vaccine groups. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN88335123.

Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Frodsham A, Walley A, Maskell NA, Davies CW, Segal S, Moore CE, Gillespie SH et al. 2007. IkappaB genetic polymorphisms and invasive pneumococcal disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 176 (2), pp. 181-187. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Increasing evidence supports a key role for the transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB in the host response to pneumococcal infection. Control of NF-kappaB activity is achieved through interactions with the IkappaB family of inhibitors, encoded by the genes NFKBIA, NFKBIB, and NFKBIE. Rare NFKBIA mutations cause immunodeficiency with severe bacterial infection, raising the possibility that common IkappaB gene polymorphisms confer susceptibility to common bacterial disease. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether polymorphisms in NFKBIA, NFKBIB, and NFKBIE associate with susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and thoracic empyema. METHODS: We studied the frequencies of 62 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across NFKBIA, NFKBIB, and NFKBIE in individuals with IPD and control subjects (n=1,060). Significantly associated SNPs were then studied in a group of individuals with thoracic empyema and a second control group (n=632). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Two SNPs in the NFKBIA promoter region were associated with protection from IPD in both the initial study group and the pneumococcal empyema subgroup. Significant protection from IPD was observed for carriage of mutant alleles at these two loci on combining the groups (SNP rs3138053: Mantel-Haenszel 2x2 chi2=13.030, p=0.0003; odds ratio [OR], 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45-0.79; rs2233406: Mantel-Haenszel 2x2 chi2=18.927, p=0.00001; OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.42-0.72). An NFKBIE SNP associated with susceptibility to IPD but not pneumococcal empyema. None of the NFKBIB SNPs associated with IPD susceptibility. CONCLUSIONS: NFKBIA polymorphisms associate with susceptibility to IPD. Genetic variation in an inhibitor of NF-kappaB therefore not only causes a very rare immunodeficiency state but may also influence the development of common infectious disease.

Todryk SM, Hill AV. 2007. Malaria vaccines: the stage we are at. Nat Rev Microbiol, 5 (7), pp. 487-489. | Read more

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. 2007. Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls. Nature, 447 (7145), pp. 661-678. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is increasing evidence that genome-wide association (GWA) studies represent a powerful approach to the identification of genes involved in common human diseases. We describe a joint GWA study (using the Affymetrix GeneChip 500K Mapping Array Set) undertaken in the British population, which has examined approximately 2,000 individuals for each of 7 major diseases and a shared set of approximately 3,000 controls. Case-control comparisons identified 24 independent association signals at P < 5 x 10(-7): 1 in bipolar disorder, 1 in coronary artery disease, 9 in Crohn's disease, 3 in rheumatoid arthritis, 7 in type 1 diabetes and 3 in type 2 diabetes. On the basis of prior findings and replication studies thus-far completed, almost all of these signals reflect genuine susceptibility effects. We observed association at many previously identified loci, and found compelling evidence that some loci confer risk for more than one of the diseases studied. Across all diseases, we identified a large number of further signals (including 58 loci with single-point P values between 10(-5) and 5 x 10(-7)) likely to yield additional susceptibility loci. The importance of appropriately large samples was confirmed by the modest effect sizes observed at most loci identified. This study thus represents a thorough validation of the GWA approach. It has also demonstrated that careful use of a shared control group represents a safe and effective approach to GWA analyses of multiple disease phenotypes; has generated a genome-wide genotype database for future studies of common diseases in the British population; and shown that, provided individuals with non-European ancestry are excluded, the extent of population stratification in the British population is generally modest. Our findings offer new avenues for exploring the pathophysiology of these important disorders. We anticipate that our data, results and software, which will be widely available to other investigators, will provide a powerful resource for human genetics research.

Ball TB, Ji H, Kimani J, McLaren P, Marlin C, Hill AV, Plummer FA. 2007. Polymorphisms in IRF-1 associated with resistance to HIV-1 infection in highly exposed uninfected Kenyan sex workers. AIDS, 21 (9), pp. 1091-1101. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To determine the correlation between polymorphisms in the IL-4 gene cluster and resistance to HIV-1 infection. DESIGN: : A cross-sectional genetic analysis of polymorphisms within the IL-4 gene cluster was conducted in a well-described female sex worker cohort from Nairobi, Kenya, known to exhibit differential susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. METHODS: Microsatellite genotyping was used to screen six microsatellite markers in the IL-4 gene cluster for associations with HIV-1 resistance. Further analysis of the interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) gene was conducted by genomic sequencing. Associations between IRF-1 gene polymorphisms and the HIV-1 resistance phenotype were determined using the chi-square test and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The functional consequence of IRF-1 polymorphism was conducted by quantitative Western blot. RESULTS: Three polymorphisms in IRF-1, located at 619, the microsatellite region and 6516 of the gene, showed associations with resistance to HIV-1 infection. The 619A, 179 at IRF-1 microsatellite and 6516G alleles were associated with the HIV-1-resistant phenotype and a reduced likelihood of seroconversion. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with protective IRF-1 genotypes exhibited significantly lower basal IRF-1 expression and reduced responsiveness to exogenous IFN-gamma stimulation. CONCLUSION: Polymorphisms in the IRF-1 gene are associated with resistance to infection by HIV-1 and a lowered level of IRF-1 protein expression. This study adds IRF-1, a transcriptional immunoregulatory gene, to the list of genetic correlates of altered susceptibility to HIV-1. This is the first report suggesting that a viral transcriptional regulator might contribute to resistance to HIV-1. Further functional analysis on the role of IRF-1 polymorphisms and HIV-1 resistance is underway.

Chapman SJ, Vannberg FO, Khor CC, Segal S, Moore CE, Knox K, Day NP, Davies RJ, Crook DW, Hill AV. 2007. Functional polymorphisms in the FCN2 gene are not associated with invasive pneumococcal disease. Mol Immunol, 44 (12), pp. 3267-3270. | Show Abstract | Read more

L-ficolin is a pattern-recognition molecule which binds lipoteichoic acid and Gram-positive bacteria and activates the lectin pathway of complement. Five common functional polymorphisms have recently been identified in the FCN2 gene which encodes L-ficolin: three promoter polymorphisms (at positions -986, -602 and -4) which affect serum L-ficolin concentration, and two non-synonymous polymorphisms (Thr236Met and Ala258Ser) which influence carbohydrate binding. We studied the frequencies of these polymorphisms in individuals with invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and a control group. Although the five FCN2 polymorphisms were each present in the UK Caucasian population studied, no significant associations were observed between the FCN2 polymorphisms and susceptibility to IPD. This is in contrast to mannose-binding lectin deficiency, which we have previously shown to be associated with increased susceptibility to IPD. Although we are unable to exclude small effects of FCN2 genetic variation on susceptibility to IPD, the result suggests that L-ficolin may not be critical for host defence against pneumococcal infection.

Khor CC, Chapman SJ, Vannberg FO, Dunne A, Murphy C, Ling EY, Frodsham AJ, Walley AJ, Kyrieleis O, Khan A et al. 2007. A Mal functional variant is associated with protection against invasive pneumococcal disease, bacteremia, malaria and tuberculosis. Nat Genet, 39 (4), pp. 523-528. | Show Abstract | Read more

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and members of their signaling pathway are important in the initiation of the innate immune response to a wide variety of pathogens. The adaptor protein Mal (also known as TIRAP), encoded by TIRAP (MIM 606252), mediates downstream signaling of TLR2 and TLR4 (refs. 4-6). We report a case-control study of 6,106 individuals from the UK, Vietnam and several African countries with invasive pneumococcal disease, bacteremia, malaria and tuberculosis. We genotyped 33 SNPs, including rs8177374, which encodes a leucine substitution at Ser180 of Mal. We found that heterozygous carriage of this variant associated independently with all four infectious diseases in the different study populations. Combining the study groups, we found substantial support for a protective effect of S180L heterozygosity against these infectious diseases (N = 6,106; overall P = 9.6 x 10(-8)). We found that the Mal S180L variant attenuated TLR2 signal transduction.

Li S, Locke E, Bruder J, Clarke D, Doolan DL, Havenga MJ, Hill AV, Liljestrom P, Monath TP, Naim HY et al. 2007. Viral vectors for malaria vaccine development. Vaccine, 25 (14), pp. 2567-2574. | Show Abstract | Read more

A workshop on viral vectors for malaria vaccine development, organized by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, was held in Bethesda, MD on October 20, 2005. Recent advancements in viral-vectored malaria vaccine development and emerging vector technologies were presented and discussed. Classic viral vectors such as poxvirus, adenovirus and alphavirus vectors have been successfully used to deliver malaria antigens. Some of the vaccine candidates have demonstrated their potential in inducing malaria-specific immunity in animal models and human trials. In addition, emerging viral-vector technologies, such as measles virus (MV), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and yellow fever (YF) virus, may also be useful for malaria vaccine development. Studies in animal models suggest that each viral vector is unique in its ability to induce humoral and/or cellular immune responses. Those studies have also revealed that optimization of Plasmodium genes for mammalian expression is an important aspect of vaccine design. Codon-optimization, surface-trafficking, de-glycosylation and removal of toxic domains can lead to improved immunogenicity. Understanding the vector's ability to induce an immune response and the expression of malaria antigens in mammalian cells will be critical in designing the next generation of viral-vectored malaria vaccines.

Imoukhuede EB, Andrews L, Milligan P, Berthoud T, Bojang K, Nwakanma D, Ismaili J, Buckee C, Njie F, Keita S et al. 2007. Low-level malaria infections detected by a sensitive polymerase chain reaction assay and use of this technique in the evaluation of malaria vaccines in an endemic area. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 76 (3), pp. 486-493. | Show Abstract

The feasibility of using a sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to evaluate malaria vaccines in small group sizes was tested in 102 adult Gambian volunteers who received either the malaria vaccine regimen FP9 ME-TRAP/MVA ME-TRAP or rabies vaccine. All volunteers received the antimalarial drugs primaquine and Lapdap plus artesunate to eliminate malaria parasites. Volunteers in a further group received an additional single treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to prevent new infections. There was substantially lower T-cell immunogenicity than in previous trials with this vaccine regimen and no protection against infection in the malaria vaccine group. Using the primary endpoint of 20 parasites per mL, no difference was found in the prevalence of low-level infections in volunteers who received SP compared with those who did not, indicating that SP did not reduce the incidence of very low-density infection. However, SP markedly reduced the incidence of higher density infections. These findings support the feasibility and potential of this approach to screen pre-erythrocytic vaccines for efficacy against infection in small numbers of vaccinees in endemic areas.




Amos W, Hoffman JI, Frodsham A, Zhang L, Best S, Hill AVS. 2007. Automated binning of microsatellite alleles: problems and solutions MOLECULAR ECOLOGY NOTES, 7 (1), pp. 10-14. | Read more

Pathan AA, Sander CR, Fletcher HA, Poulton I, Alder NC, Beveridge NE, Whelan KT, Hill AV, McShane H. 2007. Boosting BCG with recombinant modified vaccinia ankara expressing antigen 85A: different boosting intervals and implications for efficacy trials. PLoS One, 2 (10), pp. e1052. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the safety and immunogenicity of boosting BCG with modified vaccinia Ankara expressing antigen 85A (MVA85A), shortly after BCG vaccination, and to compare this first with the immunogenicity of BCG vaccination alone and second with a previous clinical trial where MVA85A was administered more than 10 years after BCG vaccination. DESIGN: There are two clinical trials reported here: a Phase I observational trial with MVA85A; and a Phase IV observational trial with BCG. These clinical trials were all conducted in the UK in healthy, HIV negative, BCG naïve adults. Subjects were vaccinated with BCG alone; or BCG and then subsequently boosted with MVA85A four weeks later (short interval). The outcome measures, safety and immunogenicity, were monitored for six months. The immunogenicity results from this short interval BCG prime-MVA85A boost trial were compared first with the BCG alone trial and second with a previous clinical trial where MVA85A vaccination was administered many years after vaccination with BCG. RESULTS: MVA85A was safe and highly immunogenic when administered to subjects who had recently received BCG vaccination. When the short interval trial data presented here were compared with the previous long interval trial data, there were no significant differences in the magnitude of immune responses generated when MVA85A was administered shortly after, or many years after BCG vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: The clinical trial data presented here provides further evidence of the ability of MVA85A to boost BCG primed immune responses. This boosting potential is not influenced by the time interval between prior BCG vaccination and boosting with MVA85A. These findings have important implications for the design of efficacy trials with MVA85A. Boosting BCG induced anti-mycobacterial immunity in either infancy or adolescence are both potential applications for this vaccine, given the immunological data presented here. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00427453 (short boosting interval), NCT00427830 (long boosting interval), NCT00480714 (BCG alone).

Bejon P, Ogada E, Mwangi T, Milligan P, Lang T, Fegan G, Gilbert SC, Peshu N, Marsh K, Hill AVS. 2007. Extended Follow-Up Following a Phase 2b Randomized Trial of the Candidate Malaria Vaccines FP9 ME-TRAP and MVA ME-TRAP among Children in Kenya PLOS ONE, 2 (8), | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: "FFM ME-TRAP" is sequential immunisation with two attenuated poxvirus vectors (FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara) delivering the pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen ME-TRAP. Over nine months follow-up in our original study, there was no evidence that FFM ME-TRAP provided protection against malaria. The incidence of malaria was slightly higher in children who received FFM ME-TRAP, but this was not statistically significant (hazard ratio 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.3). Although the study was unblinded, another nine months follow-up was planned to monitor the incidence of malaria and other serious adverse events. METHODS AND FINDINGS: 405 children aged 1-6 yrs were initially randomized to vaccination with either FFM ME-TRAP or control (rabies vaccine). 380 children were still available for follow-up after the first nine months. Children were seen weekly and whenever they were unwell for nine months monitoring. The axillary temperature was measured, and blood films taken when febrile. The primary analysis was time to parasitaemia >2,500/microl. During the second nine months monitoring, 49 events met the primary endpoint (febrile malaria with parasites >2,500/microl) in the Intention To Treat (ITT) group. 23 events occurred among the 189 children in the FFM ME-TRAP group, and 26 among the 194 children in the control group. In the full 18 months of monitoring, there were 63 events in the FFM ME-TRAP group and 60 in the control group (HR = 1.2, CI 0.84-1.73, p = 0.35). There was no evidence that the HR changed over the 18 months (test for interaction between time and vaccination p = 0.11). CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination with FFM ME-TRAP was not protective against malaria in this study. Malaria incidence during 18 months of surveillance was similar in both vaccine groups. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN88335123.

Nejentsev S, Howson JM, Walker NM, Szeszko J, Field SF, Stevens HE, Reynolds P, Hardy M, King E, Masters J et al. 2007. Localization of type 1 diabetes susceptibility to the MHC class I genes HLA-B and HLA-A. Nature, 450 (7171), pp. 887-892. | Show Abstract | Read more

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6 is associated with susceptibility to more common diseases than any other region of the human genome, including almost all disorders classified as autoimmune. In type 1 diabetes the major genetic susceptibility determinants have been mapped to the MHC class II genes HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DRB1 (refs 1-3), but these genes cannot completely explain the association between type 1 diabetes and the MHC region. Owing to the region's extreme gene density, the multiplicity of disease-associated alleles, strong associations between alleles, limited genotyping capability, and inadequate statistical approaches and sample sizes, which, and how many, loci within the MHC determine susceptibility remains unclear. Here, in several large type 1 diabetes data sets, we analyse a combined total of 1,729 polymorphisms, and apply statistical methods-recursive partitioning and regression-to pinpoint disease susceptibility to the MHC class I genes HLA-B and HLA-A (risk ratios >1.5; P(combined) = 2.01 x 10(-19) and 2.35 x 10(-13), respectively) in addition to the established associations of the MHC class II genes. Other loci with smaller and/or rarer effects might also be involved, but to find these, future searches must take into account both the HLA class II and class I genes and use even larger samples. Taken together with previous studies, we conclude that MHC-class-I-mediated events, principally involving HLA-B*39, contribute to the aetiology of type 1 diabetes.

Bejon P, Keating S, Mwacharo J, Kai OK, Dunachie S, Walther M, Berthoud T, Lang T, Epstein J, Carucci D et al. 2006. Early gamma interferon and interleukin-2 responses to vaccination predict the late resting memory in malaria-naïve and malaria-exposed individuals. Infect Immun, 74 (11), pp. 6331-6338. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two different cell populations respond to potent T-cell-inducing vaccinations. The induction and loss of effector cells can be seen using an ex vivo enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay, but the more durable resting memory response is demonstrable by a cultured ELISPOT assay. The relationship of the early effector response to durable resting memory is incompletely understood. Effector phenotype is usually identified by gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) production, but interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been specifically linked to the differentiation of memory cells. Here, IFN-gamma- and IL-2-secreting effector cells were identified by an ex vivo ELISPOT assay 1 week after vaccination and compared with the resting memory responses detected by a cultured ELISPOT assay 3 months later. The different kinetics and induction of IL-2 by different vaccines and natural exposure are described. Furthermore, both early IFN-gamma and IL-2 production independently predicted subsequent memory responses at 3 months in malaria-naïve volunteers, but only IFN-gamma predicted memory in malaria-exposed volunteers. However, dual ELISPOT assays were also performed on malaria-exposed volunteers to identify cells producing both cytokines simultaneously. This demonstrated that double-cytokine-producing cells were highly predictive of memory. This assay may be useful in predicting vaccinations most likely to generate stable, long-term memory responses.

Imoukhuede EB, Berthoud T, Milligan P, Bojang K, Ismaili J, Keating S, Nwakanma D, Keita S, Njie F, Sowe M et al. 2006. Safety and immunogenicity of the malaria candidate vaccines FP9 CS and MVA CS in adult Gambian men. Vaccine, 24 (42-43), pp. 6526-6533. | Show Abstract | Read more

We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of prime-boost vectors encoding the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein expressed either in the attenuated fowl-pox virus (FP9) or modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). Thirty-two adult Gambians in groups of four to eight received one, two or three doses of FP9 CS and/or MVA CS. No serious adverse event was observed following vaccination. The most immunogenic regimen was two doses of FP9 followed by a single dose of MVA 4 weeks later (an average of 1000 IFN-gamma spot forming units/million PBMCs). This level of effector T-cell responses appears higher than that seen in previously reported studies of CS-based candidate malaria vaccines.

Bejon P, Mwacharo J, Kai O, Mwangi T, Milligan P, Todryk S, Keating S, Lang T, Lowe B, Gikonyo C et al. 2006. A phase 2b randomised trial of the candidate malaria vaccines FP9 ME-TRAP and MVA ME-TRAP among children in Kenya. PLoS Clin Trials, 1 (6), pp. e29. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to measure the efficacy of the vaccination regimen FFM ME-TRAP in preventing episodes of clinical malaria among children in a malaria endemic area. FFM ME-TRAP is sequential immunisation with two attenuated poxvirus vectors (FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara), which both deliver the pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen construct multiple epitope-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (ME-TRAP). DESIGN: The trial was randomised and double-blinded. SETTING: The setting was a rural, malaria-endemic area of coastal Kenya. PARTICIPANTS: We vaccinated 405 healthy 1- to 6-year-old children. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomised to vaccination with either FFM ME-TRAP or control (rabies vaccine). OUTCOME MEASURES: Following antimalarial drug treatment children were seen weekly and whenever they were unwell during nine months of monitoring. The axillary temperature was measured, and blood films taken when febrile. The primary analysis was time to a parasitaemia of over 2,500 parasites/mul. RESULTS: The regime was moderately immunogenic, but the magnitude of T cell responses was lower than in previous studies. In intention to treat (ITT) analysis, time to first episode was shorter in the FFM ME-TRAP group. The cumulative incidence of febrile malaria was 52/190 (27%) for FFM ME-TRAP and 40/197 (20%) among controls (hazard ratio = 1.52). This was not statistically significant (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-2.3; p = 0.14 by log-rank). A group of 346 children were vaccinated according to protocol (ATP). Among these children, the hazard ratio was 1.3 (95% CI 0.8-2.1; p = 0.55 by log-rank). When multiple malaria episodes were included in the analyses, the incidence rate ratios were 1.6 (95% CI 1.1-2.3); p = 0.017 for ITT, and 1.4 (95% CI 0.9-2.1); p = 0.16 for ATP. Haemoglobin and parasitaemia in cross-sectional surveys at 3 and 9 mo did not differ by treatment group. Among children vaccinated with FFM ME-TRAP, there was no correlation between immunogenicity and malaria incidence. CONCLUSIONS: No protection was induced against febrile malaria by this vaccine regimen. Future field studies will require vaccinations with stronger immunogenicity in children living in malarious areas.

Walther M, Woodruff J, Edele F, Jeffries D, Tongren JE, King E, Andrews L, Bejon P, Gilbert SC, De Souza JB et al. 2006. Innate immune responses to human malaria: heterogeneous cytokine responses to blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum correlate with parasitological and clinical outcomes. J Immunol, 177 (8), pp. 5736-5745. | Show Abstract

Taking advantage of a sporozoite challenge model established to evaluate the efficacy of new malaria vaccine candidates, we have explored the kinetics of systemic cytokine responses during the prepatent period of Plasmodium falciparum infection in 18 unvaccinated, previously malaria-naive subjects, using a highly sensitive, bead-based multiplex assay, and relate these data to peripheral parasite densities as measured by quantitative real-time PCR. These data are complemented with the analysis of cytokine production measured in vitro from whole blood or PBMC, stimulated with P. falciparum-infected RBC. We found considerable qualitative and quantitative interindividual variability in the innate responses, with subjects falling into three groups according to the strength of their inflammatory response. One group secreted moderate levels of IFN-gamma and IL-10, but no detectable IL-12p70. A second group produced detectable levels of circulating IL-12p70 and developed very high levels of IFN-gamma and IL-10. The third group failed to up-regulate any significant proinflammatory responses, but showed the highest levels of TGF-beta. Proinflammatory responses were associated with more rapid control of parasite growth but only at the cost of developing clinical symptoms, suggesting that the initial innate response may have far-reaching consequences on disease outcome. Furthermore, the in vitro observations on cytokine kinetics presented here, suggest that intact schizont-stage infected RBC can trigger innate responses before rupture of the infected RBC.

Dunachie SJ, Walther M, Epstein JE, Keating S, Berthoud T, Andrews L, Andersen RF, Bejon P, Goonetilleke N, Poulton I et al. 2006. A DNA prime-modified vaccinia virus ankara boost vaccine encoding thrombospondin-related adhesion protein but not circumsporozoite protein partially protects healthy malaria-naive adults against Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite challenge. Infect Immun, 74 (10), pp. 5933-5942. | Show Abstract | Read more

The safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) prime-boost regimes were assessed by using either thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (TRAP) with a multiple-epitope string ME (ME-TRAP) or the circumsporozoite protein (CS) of Plasmodium falciparum. Sixteen healthy subjects who never had malaria (malaria-naive subjects) received two priming vaccinations with DNA, followed by one boosting immunization with MVA, with either ME-TRAP or CS as the antigen. Immunogenicity was assessed by ex vivo gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) enzyme-linked immunospot assay (ELISPOT) and antibody assay. Two weeks after the final vaccination, the subjects underwent P. falciparum sporozoite challenge, with six unvaccinated controls. The vaccines were well tolerated and immunogenic, with the DDM-ME TRAP regimen producing stronger ex vivo IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses than DDM-CS. One of eight subjects receiving the DDM-ME TRAP regimen was completely protected against malaria challenge, with this group as a whole showing significant delay to parasitemia compared to controls (P = 0.045). The peak ex vivo IFN-gamma ELISPOT response in this group correlated strongly with the number of days to parasitemia (P = 0.033). No protection was observed in the DDM-CS group. Prime-boost vaccination with DNA and MVA encoding ME-TRAP but not CS resulted in partial protection against P. falciparum sporozoite challenge in the present study.

Tosh K, Ravikumar M, Bell JT, Meisner S, Hill AV, Pitchappan R. 2006. Variation in MICA and MICB genes and enhanced susceptibility to paucibacillary leprosy in South India. Hum Mol Genet, 15 (19), pp. 2880-2887. | Show Abstract | Read more

In a study of mainly paucibacillary leprosy-affected sib-pair families from South India, in addition to the expected associations with the HLA-DRB1 locus, we have identified significant association with a functional variant of the MICA gene as well as a microsatellite in the flanking region of the MICB gene. The associations with MICA and MICB cannot be accounted for by linkage disequilibrium with the HLA class II locus indicating a role in genetic susceptibility to leprosy that is independent of HLA-DRB1. Previous studies have shown that MICA and MICB are expressed on the surface of cells in response to infection, where they are recognized by the NKG2D receptor on gammadelta T cells, CD8+ alphabeta T cells and natural killer cells, all of which contribute to defense against mycobacteria. The MICA*5A5.1 allele, associated here with leprosy susceptibility, encodes a protein lacking a cytoplasmic tail providing a possible mechanism for defective immune surveillance against mycobacteria.

Cooke GS, Tosh K, Ramaley PA, Kaleebu P, Zhuang J, Nakiyingi JS, Watera C, Gilks CF, French N, Whitworth JA, Hill AV. 2006. A polymorphism that reduces RANTES expression is associated with protection from death in HIV-seropositive Ugandans with advanced disease. J Infect Dis, 194 (5), pp. 666-669. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated the effect of RANTES polymorphisms on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) disease progression in an urban population of Uganda. HIV-positive individuals homozygous for the INT1.1C polymorphism, which had been associated previously with low RANTES expression, were less likely to die than were those with other genotypes (hazard ratio, 0.53 [95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.83]; P=.007). This report of a non-human leukocyte antigen genetic association with HIV-1 and/or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome disease progression in an African population reveals a genetic effect different from that reported elsewhere for African Americans and may impact therapeutic strategies targeting the RANTES pathway in HIV infection.

Bejon P, Kai OK, Mwacharo J, Keating S, Lang T, Gilbert SC, Peshu N, Marsh K, Hill AV. 2006. Alternating vector immunizations encoding pre-erythrocytic malaria antigens enhance memory responses in a malaria endemic area. Eur J Immunol, 36 (8), pp. 2264-2272. | Show Abstract | Read more

A heterologous prime-boost strategy has been developed to potently induce T cell responses to pre-erythrocytic malaria antigens. Efficacy in the field is likely to depend on both peak immunogenicity and the durability of responses. To improve both immunogenicity and durability of responses, 54 adult males from a malaria endemic area were immunized with different vaccination regimens, systematically varying antigenic insert and the number and sequence of component vaccinations. The component vaccinations were recombinant attenuated viruses, either fowlpox (FP) 9 or modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). These were recombinant for either of two pre-erythrocytic malaria antigens (multiple epitope-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein, ME-TRAP, or circumsporozoite antigen (CS). ELISPOT assays were used to measure the effector and resting memory T cell responses. Sequence, antigen insert and number of vaccinations influenced immunogenicity, but the novel alternating vector immunizations generated the largest resting memory T cell populations. Effector responses were maintained at 84% of the peak response after 270 days. This durability of response is unprecedented. Classical prime-boost vaccination responses were at 5% of the peak after 270 days. Vaccines administered by heterologous prime-boost regimes are being developed for diverse pathogens and cancer. These data suggest these vaccines should also be administered by alternating vector regimens in clinical development.

Ibanga HB, Brookes RH, Hill PC, Owiafe PK, Fletcher HA, Lienhardt C, Hill AV, Adegbola RA, McShane H. 2006. Early clinical trials with a new tuberculosis vaccine, MVA85A, in tuberculosis-endemic countries: issues in study design. Lancet Infect Dis, 6 (8), pp. 522-528. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculosis remains a substantial global health problem despite effective drug treatments. The efficacy of BCG, the only available vaccine, is variable, especially in tuberculosis-endemic regions. Recent advances in the development of new vaccines against tuberculosis mean that the first of these are now entering into early clinical trials. A recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing a major secreted antigen from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, antigen 85A, was the first new tuberculosis vaccine to enter into clinical trials in September 2002. This vaccine is known as MVA85A. In a series of phase I clinical trials in the UK, MVA85A had an excellent safety profile and was highly immunogenic. MVA85A was subsequently evaluated in a series of phase I trials in The Gambia, a tuberculosis-endemic area in west Africa. This vaccine is the only new subunit tuberculosis vaccine to enter into clinical trials in Africa to date. Here, we discuss some of the issues that were considered in the protocol design of these studies including recruitment, inclusion and exclusion criteria, reimbursement of study participants, and HIV testing. These issues are highly relevant to early clinical trials with all new tuberculosis vaccines in the developing world.

Cooke GS, Campbell SJ, Sillah J, Gustafson P, Bah B, Sirugo G, Bennett S, McAdam KP, Sow O, Lienhardt C, Hill AV. 2006. Polymorphism within the interferon-gamma/receptor complex is associated with pulmonary tuberculosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 174 (3), pp. 339-343. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) is of central interest in the study of tuberculosis. A number of single-gene mutations have been identified in the IFN-gamma signaling pathway that predispose to severe mycobacterial disease, but the relevance of polymorphism within these genes to the common phenotype of tuberculosis remains unclear. METHODS: A total of 1,301 individuals were included in a large, detailed study of West African populations with pulmonary tuberculosis. We investigated disease association with the genes encoding IFN-gamma and its receptor subunits (IFNG, IFNGR1, and IFNGR2). RESULTS: Within the IFNG gene, two promoter variants showed evidence of novel disease association: -1616GG (odds ratio [OR], 1.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-2.00; p = 0.008) and +3234TT (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.09-1.80; p = 0.009). The +874AA genotype was not significantly more frequent among cases over control subjects (OR, 1.16; 95%CI, 0.89-1.51; p = 0.25). In addition, novel disease association was also found with the -56CC genotype of the IFNGR1 promoter (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.57-0.99; p = 0.041). No disease association was seen with the IFNGR2 locus. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence of a significant role for genetic variation at the IFNG locus and provide detailed understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying this association. The disease association with IFNGR1 is novel, and together these findings support the hypothesis that genetically determined variation in both IFN-gamma production and responsiveness influences the risk of developing tuberculosis.

Tosh K, Campbell SJ, Fielding K, Sillah J, Bah B, Gustafson P, Manneh K, Lisse I, Sirugo G, Bennett S et al. 2006. Variants in the SP110 gene are associated with genetic susceptibility to tuberculosis in West Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103 (27), pp. 10364-10368. | Show Abstract | Read more

The sst1 locus has been identified in a mouse model to control resistance and susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Subsequent studies have now identified Ipr1 (intracellular pathogen resistance 1) to be the gene responsible. Ipr1 is encoded within the sst1 locus and is expressed in the tuberculosis lung lesions and macrophages of sst1-resistant, but not sst1-susceptible mice. We have therefore examined the closest human homologue of Ipr1, SP110, for its ability to control susceptibility to M. tuberculosis infection in humans. In a study of families from The Gambia we have identified three polymorphisms that are associated with disease. On examination of additional families from Guinea-Bissau and the Republic of Guinea, two of these associations were independently replicated. These variants are in strong linkage disequilibrium with each other and lie within a 31-kb block of low haplotypic diversity, suggesting that a polymorphism within this region has a role in genetic susceptibility to tuberculosis in humans.

Frodsham AJ, Zhang L, Dumpis U, Taib NA, Best S, Durham A, Hennig BJ, Hellier S, Knapp S, Wright M et al. 2006. Class II cytokine receptor gene cluster is a major locus for hepatitis B persistence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103 (24), pp. 9148-9153. | Show Abstract | Read more

Persistent hepatitis B virus infection is a major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma, the most frequent cancer in some developing countries. Up to 95% of those infected at birth and 15% of those infected after the neonatal period fail to clear hepatitis B virus, together resulting in approximately 350 million persistent carriers worldwide. Via a whole genome scan in Gambian families, we have identified a major susceptibility locus as a cluster of class II cytokine receptor genes on chromosome 21q22. Coding changes in two of these genes, the type I IFN receptor gene, IFN-AR2, and the IL-10RB gene that encodes a receptor chain for IL-10-related cytokines including the IFN-lambdas, are associated with viral clearance (haplotype P value = 0.0003), and in vitro assays support functional roles for these variants in receptor signaling.

Bejon P, Mwacharo J, Kai OK, Todryk S, Keating S, Lang T, Gilbert SC, Peshu N, Marsh K, Hill AV. 2006. Immunogenicity of the candidate malaria vaccines FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara encoding the pre-erythrocytic antigen ME-TRAP in 1-6 year old children in a malaria endemic area. Vaccine, 24 (22), pp. 4709-4715. | Show Abstract | Read more

In a phase 1 trial, 22 children in a malaria endemic area were immunised with candidate malaria vaccination regimes. The regimes used two recombinant viral vectors, attenuated fowlpox strain FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). Both encoded the pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen construct ME-TRAP. Strong T cell responses were detected by both ex vivo and cultured ELISpot assays. Data from phase 1 trials in adults on anti-vector responses raised by FP9 is presented. These responses partially cross-reacted with MVA, and detectably reduced the immunogenicity of vaccination with MVA. This prompted the comparison of half dose and full dose FP9 priming vaccinations in children. Regimes using half dose FP9 priming tended to be more immunogenic than full dose. The potential for enhanced immunogenicity with half doses of priming vectors warrants further investigation, and larger studies to determine protection against malaria in children are required.

Gilbert SC, Moorthy VS, Andrews L, Pathan AA, McConkey SJ, Vuola JM, Keating SM, Berthoud T, Webster D, McShane H, Hill AV. 2006. Synergistic DNA-MVA prime-boost vaccination regimes for malaria and tuberculosis. Vaccine, 24 (21), pp. 4554-4561. | Show Abstract | Read more

T-cell-mediated responses against the liver-stage of Plasmodium falciparum are critical for protection in the human irradiated sporozoite model and several animal models. Heterologous prime-boost approaches, employing plasmid DNA and viral vector delivery of malarial DNA sequences, have proved particularly promising for maximising T-cell-mediated protection in animal models. The T-cell responses induced by this prime-boost regime, in animals and humans, are substantially greater than the sum of the responses induced by DNA or MVA vaccines used alone, leading to the term introduced here of "synergistic" prime-boost immunisation. The insert in our first generation clinical constructs is known as multiple epitope-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (ME-TRAP). We have performed an extensive series of phase I/II trials evaluating various prime-boost combination regimens for delivery of ME-TRAP in over 500 malaria-naïve and malaria-exposed individuals. The three delivery vectors are DNA, modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and, more recently, fowlpox strain 9 (FP9). Administration was intra-epidermal and intramuscular for DNA and intradermal for MVA and FP9. Doses of DNA ranged from 4 microg to 2mg. Doses of MVA were up to 1.5 x 10(8) plaque forming units (pfu) and of FP9, up to 1.0 x 10(8)pfu. Further trials employing bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) as the priming agent and MVA expressing antigen 85A of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as the boosting agent has extended the scope of synergistic prime-boost vaccination. In this review we summarise the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy results from these malaria and tuberculosis vaccine clinical trials.

Lee EA, Flanagan KL, Minigo G, Reece WH, Bailey R, Pinder M, Hill AV, Plebanski M. 2006. Dimorphic Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1 epitopes turn off memory T cells and interfere with T cell priming. Eur J Immunol, 36 (5), pp. 1168-1178. | Show Abstract | Read more

The leading blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate antigen, Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) occurs in two major allelic types worldwide. The molecular basis promoting this stable dimorphism is unknown. In this study, we have shown that allelic altered peptide ligand (APL) T cell epitopes of MSP-1 mutually inhibited IFN-gamma secretion as well as proliferation of CD4+ T cells in 27/34 malaria exposed Gambian volunteers. Besides this inhibition of malaria-specific immunity, the same variant epitopes were also able to impair the priming of human T cells in malaria naive individuals. Epitope variants capable of interfering with T cell priming as well as inhibiting memory T cell effector functions offer a uniquely potent combination for immune evasion. Indeed, enhanced co-habitation of parasites bearing such antagonistic allelic epitope regions was observed in a study of 321 West African children, indicating a survival advantage for parasites able to engage this inhibitory immune interference mechanism.

Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Maskell NA, Davies CW, Hedley EL, Segal S, Moore CE, Knox K, Day NP et al. 2006. PTPN22 and invasive bacterial disease. Nat Genet, 38 (5), pp. 499-500. | Read more

Walther M, Thompson FM, Dunachie S, Keating S, Todryk S, Berthoud T, Andrews L, Andersen RF, Moore A, Gilbert SC et al. 2006. Safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of prime-boost immunization with recombinant poxvirus FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara encoding the full-length Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein. Infect Immun, 74 (5), pp. 2706-2716. | Show Abstract | Read more

Heterologous prime-boost immunization with DNA and various recombinant poxviruses encoding malaria antigens is capable of inducing strong cell-mediated immune responses and partial protection in human sporozoite challenges. Here we report a series of trials assessing recombinant fowlpox virus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara encoding the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein in various prime-boost combinations, doses, and application routes. For the first time, these vaccines were administered intramuscularly and at doses of up to 5 x 10(8) PFU. Vaccines containing this antigen proved safe and induced modest immune responses but showed no evidence of efficacy in a sporozoite challenge.

Bejon P, Peshu N, Gilbert SC, Lowe BS, Molyneux CS, Forsdyke J, Lang T, Hill AV, Marsh K. 2006. Safety profile of the viral vectors of attenuated fowlpox strain FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara recombinant for either of 2 preerythrocytic malaria antigens, ME-TRAP or the circumsporozoite protein, in children and adults in Kenya. Clin Infect Dis, 42 (8), pp. 1102-1110. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We are developing a heterologous prime-boost vaccine strategy against malaria. This approach uses sequential immunization with different vectors to deliver a common preerythrocytic malaria antigen. Preliminary evidence of efficacy and safety has been previously documented in studies from an area where malaria is nonendemic. Additional safety data from an area where malaria is endemic are now required before larger-scale studies are undertaken to determine the efficacy of this vaccine strategy in the field. Other modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) recombinants and prime-boost immunizations are being developed as vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, tuberculosis, and cancer, and MVA is a candidate attenuated smallpox vaccine. METHODS: Candidate vaccines against malaria were intradermally administered to 73 adults (7 of whom were HIV positive) and 22 children in Kenya. These vaccines used the attenuated fowlpox strain FP9 and the MVA recombinant for either of 2 preerythrocytic malaria antigens, multiple preerythrocytic-stage epitopes joined with the preerythrocytic-stage antigen TRAP (ME-TRAP) and the circumsporozoite protein (CS). Adverse events were recorded. RESULTS: Reactogenicity was mild. MVA caused less frequent and less severe cutaneous reaction if given after FP9 priming. Half doses reduced the frequency and the severity of systemic reactogenicity, and particular vaccine lots were associated with different reactogenicities. Unexpectedly, prior immunity to the ME-TRAP antigen appeared to be protective against local reactions after immunization. CONCLUSIONS: Where the final intention is to use MVA after FP9 priming, previous testing of MVA alone overestimates reactogenicity. These recombinant vectors appear to be safe and suitable for use in larger-scale studies of children in Africa and of HIV-positive individuals.

Dunachie SJ, Walther M, Vuola JM, Webster DP, Keating SM, Berthoud T, Andrews L, Bejon P, Poulton I, Butcher G et al. 2006. A clinical trial of prime-boost immunisation with the candidate malaria vaccines RTS,S/AS02A and MVA-CS. Vaccine, 24 (15), pp. 2850-2859. | Show Abstract | Read more

Heterologous prime-boost immunisation with RTS,S/AS02A and the poxvirus MVA-CS was evaluated in 18 healthy malaria-naïve subjects in Oxford. Both priming with RTS,S and boosting MVA-CS, and the reverse, were found to be safe and well tolerated. T cell responses as measured by IFN-gamma ex vivo ELISPOT were induced, but the responses were low to moderate in both groups, with heterologous boosting yielding only small increments in T cell immunogenicity and no increased antibody response. Protection against 3D7 Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite challenge 4 weeks after the final vaccination was equal for both regimens at 33% (95% C.I. 4.3-77.7%), with one subject remaining fully protected on rechallenge at 5 months.

Webster DP, Dunachie S, McConkey S, Poulton I, Moore AC, Walther M, Laidlaw SM, Peto T, Skinner MA, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2006. Safety of recombinant fowlpox strain FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccines against liver-stage P. falciparum malaria in non-immune volunteers. Vaccine, 24 (15), pp. 3026-3034. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ability to generate potent antigen-specific T cell responses by vaccination has been a major hurdle in vaccinology. Vaccinia virus and avipox viruses have been shown to be capable of expressing antigens in mammalian cells and can induce a protective immune response against several mammalian pathogens. We report on two such vaccine constructs, modified vaccinia virus Ankara and FP9 (an attenuated fowlpox virus) both expressing the pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen thrombospondin-related adhesion protein and a string of CD8+ epitopes (ME-TRAP). In prime-boost combinations in a mouse model MVA and FP9 are highly immunogenic and induce substantial protective efficacy. A series of human clinical trials using the recombinant MVA and FP9 malaria vaccines encoding ME-TRAP, both independently and in prime-boost combinations with or without the DNA vaccine DNA ME-TRAP, has shown them to be both immunogenic for CD8+ T cells and capable of inducing protective efficacy. We report here a detailed analysis of the safety profiles of these viral vectors and show that anti-vector antibody responses induced by the vectors are generally low to moderate. We conclude that these vectors are safe and show acceptable side effect profiles for prophylactic vaccination.

Anderson RP, van Heel DA, Tye-Din JA, Jewell DP, Hill AV. 2006. Antagonists and non-toxic variants of the dominant wheat gliadin T cell epitope in coeliac disease. Gut, 55 (4), pp. 485-491. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Coeliac disease (CD) is due to an inappropriate T cell mediated response to specific gluten peptides. Measured by interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) ELISPOT, about half of the gliadin specific T cells induced with in vivo wheat gluten exposure in HLA-DQ2+ CD are specific for an alpha/beta-gliadin peptide (p57-73 QE65; QLQPFPQPELPYPQPQS) that includes two overlapping T cell epitopes (PFPQPELPY and PQPELPYPQ). AIM: To define minimally substituted variants of p57-73 QE65 universally devoid of IFN-gamma stimulatory capacity but capable of antagonising IFN-gamma secretion from polyclonal T cells specific for p57-73 QE65. METHODS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells collected from 75 HLA-DQ2+ CD patients after in vivo gluten challenge were used in overnight ELISPOT assays to screen 218 single or double substituted variants of p57-73 QE65 for cytokine stimulatory and antagonist activity. RESULTS: The region p60-71 (PFPQPELPYPQP) and especially p64-67 (PELP) was sensitive to substitution. Twelve substitutions in p64-67 stimulated no IFN-gamma ELISPOT response. Among 131 partial agonists identified, 45 produced statistically significant inhibition of IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses when cocultured in fivefold excess with p57-73 QE65 (n = 10). Four substituted variants of p57-73 QE65 were inactive by IFN-gamma ELISPOT but consistently antagonised IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses to p57-73 QE65, and also retained interleukin 10 stimulatory capacity similar to p57-73 QE65. CONCLUSIONS: Altered peptide ligands of p57-73 QE65, identified using polyclonal T cells from multiple HLA-DQ2+ CD donors, have properties in vitro that suggest that a single substitution to certain alpha/beta-gliadins could abolish their capacity to stimulate IFN-gamma from CD4 T cells and also have anti-inflammatory or protective effects in HLA-DQ2+ CD.

Flanagan KL, Plebanski M, Odhiambo K, Sheu E, Mwangi T, Gelder C, Hart K, Kortok M, Lowe B, Robson KJ et al. 2006. Cellular reactivity to the p. Falciparum protein trap in adult kenyans: novel epitopes, complex cytokine patterns, and the impact of natural antigenic variation. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 74 (3), pp. 367-375. | Show Abstract

Malaria vaccines based on thrombospondin-related adhesive protein of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf TRAP) are currently undergoing clinical trials in humans. This study was designed to investigate naturally acquired cellular immunity to Pf TRAP in adults from a target population for future trials of TRAP-based vaccines in Kilifi, Kenya. We first tested reactivity to a panel of 53 peptides spanning Pf TRAP and identified 26 novel T-cell epitopes. A panel of naturally occurring polymorphic variant epitope peptides were made to the most commonly recognized epitope regions and tested for ability to elicit IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-10 production. These data provide for the first time a complex cytokine matrix mapping naturally induced T-cell responses to TRAP and suggest that T-cell responses boosted by vaccination with Pf TRAP could stimulate the release of competing pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. They further define polymorphic variants able to boost specific Th1, Th2, and possibly Tr1 reactivity.

Hill AV. 2006. Aspects of genetic susceptibility to human infectious diseases. Annu Rev Genet, 40 (1), pp. 469-486. | Show Abstract | Read more

Host genetic factors play a major role in determining differential susceptibility to major infectious diseases of humans, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and invasive pneumococcal disease. Progress in identifying the relevant genetic loci has come from a variety of approaches. Most convincing associations have been identified by case-control studies assessing biologically plausible candidate genes. All six of the genes that have a major effect on infectious disease susceptibility in humans have been identified in this way. However, recently genome-wide linkage analysis of affected sibling pairs has identified susceptibility loci for chronic infections such as leprosy and chronic hepatitis B virus persistence. Other approaches used successfully have included assessment in humans of the homologues of susceptibility genes mapped and identified in murine models. However, the great majority of susceptibility loci remain to be identified and the advent of large-scale genome-wide association scans offers a new approach to defining many of these.

Hill AV. 2006. Pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccines: towards greater efficacy. Nat Rev Immunol, 6 (1), pp. 21-32. | Show Abstract | Read more

The complex life cycle of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum provides many options for vaccine design. Several new types of vaccine are now being evaluated in clinical trials. Recently, two vaccine candidates that target the pre-erythrocytic stages of the malaria life cycle - a protein particle vaccine with a powerful adjuvant and a prime-boost viral-vector vaccine - have entered Phase II clinical trials in the field and the first has shown partial efficacy in preventing malarial disease in African children. This Review focuses on the potential immunological basis for the encouraging partial protection induced by these vaccines, and it considers ways for developing more effective malaria vaccines.

Bejon P, Andrews L, Hunt-Cooke A, Sanderson F, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2006. Thick blood film examination for Plasmodium falciparum malaria has reduced sensitivity and underestimates parasite density. Malar J, 5 pp. 104. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Thick blood films are routinely used to diagnose Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Here, they were used to diagnose volunteers exposed to experimental malaria challenge. METHODS: The frequency with which blood films were positive at given parasite densities measured by PCR were analysed. The poisson distribution was used to calculate the theoretical likelihood of diagnosis. Further in vitro studies used serial dilutions to prepare thick films from malaria cultures at known parasitaemia. RESULTS: Even in expert hands, thick blood films were considerably less sensitive than might have been expected from the parasite numbers measured by quantitative PCR. In vitro work showed that thick films prepared from malaria cultures at known parasitaemia consistently underestimated parasite densities. CONCLUSION: It appears large numbers of parasites are lost during staining. This limits their sensitivity, and leads to erroneous estimates of parasite density.

Lang T, Hill AV, McShane H, Shah R, Towse A, Pritchard C, Garau M. 2005. New TB vaccine granted orphan drug status. BMJ, 331 (7530), pp. 1476. | Read more

Moore AC, Gallimore A, Draper SJ, Watkins KR, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2005. Anti-CD25 antibody enhancement of vaccine-induced immunogenicity: increased durable cellular immunity with reduced immunodominance. J Immunol, 175 (11), pp. 7264-7273. | Show Abstract

An efficacious vaccine strategy must be capable of inducing strong responses of an appropriate phenotype that are long lasting and sufficiently broad to prevent pathogen escape mechanisms. In the present study, we use anti-CD25 mAb to augment vaccine-induced immunity in mice. We demonstrate that coformulation of Ab and poxviral- or adenoviral-vectored vaccines induces significantly increased T cell responses to a malaria Ag; prior anti-CD25 Ab administration was not required for this effect. Furthermore, this vaccination approach subverts immunodominant epitope hierarchies by enhancing responses to subdominant epitopes induced by recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara immunization. Administration of anti-CD25 with a vaccine also induces more durable immunity compared with vaccine alone; significantly higher T cell responses were observed 100 days after the primary immunization. Enhanced immunogenicity is observed for multiple vaccine types with enhanced CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses induced by bacillus Calmette-Guérin and a recombinant subunit protein vaccine to hepatitis B virus and with multiple Ags of tumor, viral, bacterial, and parasitic origin. Vaccine strategies incorporating anti-CD25 lead to improved protection against pre-erythrocytic malaria challenge. These data underpin new strategies for the design and development of more efficacious vaccines in clinical settings.

Sridhar S, Sandoval AR, Moore A, Gilbert S, Hill AVS. 2005. Effect of adenovirus dose and prime-boost interval on the immune kinetics of the effector immune response IMMUNOLOGY, 116 pp. 109-109.

Reyes-Sandoval A, Sridhar S, Moore AC, Gilbert SC, Gao G, Wilson JM, Hill AV. 2005. Immunogenicity of a pre-erythrocytic-stage malaria insert ME-trap encoded by novel simian adenoviral vectors IMMUNOLOGY, 116 pp. 46-46.

Keating SM, Bejon P, Berthoud T, Vuola JM, Todryk S, Webster DP, Dunachie SJ, Moorthy VS, McConkey SJ, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2005. Durable human memory T cells quantifiable by cultured enzyme-linked immunospot assays are induced by heterologous prime boost immunization and correlate with protection against malaria. J Immunol, 175 (9), pp. 5675-5680. | Show Abstract

Immunological memory is a required component of protective antimalarial responses raised by T cell-inducing vaccines. The magnitude of ex vivo IFN-gamma T cell responses is widely used to identify immunogenic vaccines although this response usually wanes and may disappear within weeks. However, protection in the field is likely to depend on durable central memory T cells that are not detected by this assay. To identify longer-lived memory T cells, PBMC from malaria-naive vaccinated volunteers who had received prime boost vaccinations with a combination of DNA and/or viral vectors encoding the multiepitope string-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein Ag were cultured in vitro with Ag for 10 days before the ELISPOT assay. Ex vivo T cell responses peaked at 7 days after the final immunization and declined substantially over 6 mo, but responses identified after T cell culture increased over the 6-mo period after the final immunization. Moreover, individual cultured ELISPOT responses at the day of challenge time point correlated significantly with degree of protection against malaria sporozoite challenge, whereas ex vivo responses did not, despite a correlation between the peak ex vivo response and magnitude of memory responses 6 mo later. This cultured assay identifies long-lasting protective T cell responses and therefore offers an attractive option for assessments of vaccine immunogenicity.

Walther M, Tongren JE, Andrews L, Korbel D, King E, Fletcher H, Andersen RF, Bejon P, Thompson F, Dunachie SJ et al. 2005. Upregulation of TGF-beta, FOXP3, and CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells correlates with more rapid parasite growth in human malaria infection. Immunity, 23 (3), pp. 287-296. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the regulation of immune responses is central for control of autoimmune and infectious disease. In murine models of autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory disease, potent regulatory T lymphocytes have recently been characterized. Despite an explosion of interest in these cells, their relevance to human disease has been uncertain. In a longitudinal study of malaria sporozoite infection via the natural route, we provide evidence that regulatory T cells have modifying effects on blood-stage infection in vivo in humans. Cells with the characteristics of regulatory T cells are rapidly induced following blood-stage infection and are associated with a burst of TGF-beta production, decreased proinflammatory cytokine production, and decreased antigen-specific immune responses. Both the production of TGF-beta and the presence of CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells are associated with higher rates of parasite growth in vivo. P. falciparum-mediated induction of regulatory T cells may represent a parasite-specific virulence factor.

Anderson RP, van Heel DA, Tye-Din JA, Barnardo M, Salio M, Jewell DP, Hill AV. 2005. T cells in peripheral blood after gluten challenge in coeliac disease. Gut, 54 (9), pp. 1217-1223. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Current understanding of T cell epitopes in coeliac disease (CD) largely derives from intestinal T cell clones in vitro. T cell clones allow identification of gluten peptides that stimulate T cells but do not quantify their contribution to the overall gluten specific T cell response in individuals with CD when exposed to gluten in vivo. AIMS: To determine the contribution of a putative dominant T cell epitope to the overall gliadin T cell response in HLA-DQ2 CD in vivo. PATIENTS: HLA-DQ2+ individuals with CD and healthy controls. METHODS: Subjects consumed 20 g of gluten daily for three days. Interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) ELISPOT was performed using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to enumerate and characterise peptide and gliadin specific T cells before and after gluten challenge. RESULTS: In 50/59 CD subjects, irrespective of homo- or heterozygosity for HLA-DQ2, IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses for an optimal concentration of A-gliadin 57-73 Q-E65 were between 10 and 1500 per million PBMC, equivalent to a median 51% of the response for a "near optimal" concentration of deamidated gliadin. Whole deamidated gliadin and gliadin epitope specific T cells induced in peripheral blood expressed an intestinal homing integrin (alpha4beta7) and were HLA-DQ2 restricted. Peripheral blood T cells specific for A-gliadin 57-73 Q-E65 are rare in untreated CD but can be predictably induced two weeks after gluten exclusion. CONCLUSION: In vivo gluten challenge is a simple safe method that allows relevant T cells to be analysed and quantified in peripheral blood by ELISPOT, and should permit comprehensive high throughput mapping of gluten T cell epitopes in large numbers of individuals with CD.

Hutchings CL, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Moore AC. 2005. Novel protein and poxvirus-based vaccine combinations for simultaneous induction of humoral and cell-mediated immunity. J Immunol, 175 (1), pp. 599-606. | Show Abstract

The presence of both cell-mediated and humoral immunity is important in protection from and clearance of a number of infectious pathogens. We describe novel vaccine regimens using combinations of plasmid DNA, poxvirus and protein to induce strong Ag-specific T cell and Ab responses simultaneously in a murine model. Intramuscular (i.m.) immunization with plasmid DNA encoding the middle Ag of hepatitis B (DNA) concurrently with a commercial hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine (Engerix-B) followed by boosting immunizations with both modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) encoding the middle Ag of HBV and Engerix-B induced high levels of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and high titer Ab responses to hepatitis B surface Ag (HbsAg). Substitution of Engerix-B with adjuvant-free rHBsAg induced similar T cell responses and greatly enhanced Ab levels. Repeated immunizations with recombinant or nonrecombinant MVA mixed with Ag induced higher titers of Abs compared with immunization with either Ag or Engerix-B further demonstrating this novel adjuvant effect of MVA. The poxviruses NYVAC, fowlpox (FP9) and ALVAC, and to a lesser extent, adenovirus, also displayed similar adjuvant properties when used in combination with rHBsAg. The use of poxviruses as an adjuvant for protein to concurrently induce Ag-specific T cells and Abs could be applied to the development of vaccines for many diseases, including HIV and malaria, where both cell mediated and humoral immunity may be important for protection.

Andrews L, Andersen RF, Webster D, Dunachie S, Walther RM, Bejon P, Hunt-Cooke A, Bergson G, Sanderson F, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2005. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for malaria diagnosis and its use in malaria vaccine clinical trials. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 73 (1), pp. 191-198. | Show Abstract

The demand for an effective malaria vaccine is high, with millions of people being affected by the disease every year. A large variety of potential vaccines are under investigation worldwide, and when tested in clinical trials, researchers need to extract as much data as possible from every vaccinated and control volunteer. The use of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), carried out in real-time during the clinical trials of vaccines designed to act against the liver stage of the parasite's life cycle, provides more information than the gold standard method of microscopy alone and increases both safety and accuracy. PCR can detect malaria parasites in the blood up to 5 days before experienced microscopists see parasites on blood films, with a sensitivity of 20 parasites/mL blood. This PCR method has so far been used to follow 137 vaccinee and control volunteers in Phase IIa trials in Oxford and on 220 volunteer samples during a Phase IIb field trial in The Gambia.

Williams A, Goonetilleke NP, McShane H, Clark SO, Hatch G, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2005. Boosting with poxviruses enhances Mycobacterium bovis BCG efficacy against tuberculosis in guinea pigs. Infect Immun, 73 (6), pp. 3814-3816. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculosis is rising in the developing world due to poor health care, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection, and the low protective efficacy of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine. A new vaccination strategy that could protect adults in the developing world from tuberculosis could have a huge impact on public health. We show that BCG boosted by poxviruses expressing antigen 85A induced unprecedented 100% protection of guinea pigs from high-dose aerosol challenge with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, suggesting a strategy for enhancing and prolonging the efficacy of BCG.

Plebanski M, Hannan CM, Behboudi S, Flanagan KL, Apostolopoulos V, Sinden RE, Hill AV. 2005. Direct processing and presentation of antigen from malaria sporozoites by professional antigen-presenting cells in the induction of CD8 T-cell responses. Immunol Cell Biol, 83 (3), pp. 307-312. | Show Abstract | Read more

Irradiated malaria sporozoites induce better protection than viable untreated sporozoites. We observed early differences between irradiated and viable untreated sporozoites in priming responses in vivo to a protective CD8 T-cell epitope, pb9, of the circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium berghei. Sporozoites were processed for MHC class I presentation by dendritic cells (DC) to prime pb9-specific IFN-gamma-producing CD8 T cells. DC pulsed with untreated and irradiated sporozoites were similarly capable of priming central memory T-cell responses, detectable by the IFN-gamma cultured ELISPOT assay. However, irradiation significantly enhanced sporozoites' ability to prime effector T-cell responses detectable by the IFN-gammaex vivo ELISPOT assay. Irradiation also enhanced the ability of splenic APC to process and present sporozoites in order to re-stimulate pb9-specific polyclonal and clonal T-cell responses. Sporozoites did not stimulate T cells in the absence of APC. Over-irradiation decreased the sporozoites' T-cell stimulating capacity in vitro at high parasite doses, which may indicate that an optimal irradiation dose is necessary to induce protective immunity by sporozoite inoculation. The induction of sporozoite-specific CD8 T-cell responses without the need for liver stage infection identifies a potentially important mechanism in the development of pre-erythrocytic immunity.




Godkin A, Davenport M, Hill AVS. 2005. Molecular analysis of HLA class II associations with hepatitis B virus clearance and vaccine non responsiveness HEPATOLOGY, 41 (6), pp. 1383-1390. | Read more

Godkin A, Davenport M, Hill AV. 2005. Molecular analysis of HLA class II associations with hepatitis B virus clearance and vaccine nonresponsiveness. Hepatology, 41 (6), pp. 1383-1390. | Show Abstract | Read more

Clearance of acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is associated with a vigorous CD4+ T-cell response focusing on the core protein. HLA class II glycoproteins present viral peptides to CD4+ T cells and influence the immune responses. HLA-DRB1*1301/2 have been associated with viral clearance, and HLA-DRB1*0301 is associated with nonresponse to vaccination with envelope proteins. Binding affinities of overlapping peptides covering the core and envelope proteins of HBV were measured to HLA glycoproteins encoded by HLA-DRA1*0101,-DRB1*0101 (HLA-DR1), HLA-DRA1*0101,-DRB1*0301 (HLA-DR3), HLA-DRA1*0101,-DRB1*0701 (HLA-DR7) and HLA-DRA1*0101,-DRB1*1301 (HLA-DR13) molecules and compared with published peptide-specific CD4+ T-cell responses. There are more high-affinity ligands (IC50 < 1 micromol/L) derived from the core protein than the surface antigen (P < .04 for HLA-DR1/7/13), but there was no increase in the number or the affinity of ligands for HLA-DR13. Clusters of particular core peptides bound to multiple HLA types, explaining the immunodominance of these regions for T-cell responses. Within the envelope protein, the low-affinity ligands (IC50 < 10 micromol/L) are found mainly in the surface antigen, with a marked paucity of ligands for HLA-DR3 (HLA-DR3 vs. non-DR3; P < .05) consistent with the lower vaccination responses for this HLA type. Of all peptides tested, 8 to 10 bound mainly to one HLA type, allowing a substantially greater breadth of response in heterozygotes. In conclusion, these data offer a mechanistic explanation for the dominant response to the HBV core protein during infection and support the direct involvement of the HLA-DRB1 gene in vaccine nonresponsiveness but not altered susceptibility to viral persistence.

Webster DP, Dunachie S, Vuola JM, Berthoud T, Keating S, Laidlaw SM, McConkey SJ, Poulton I, Andrews L, Andersen RF et al. 2005. Enhanced T cell-mediated protection against malaria in human challenges by using the recombinant poxviruses FP9 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 102 (13), pp. 4836-4841. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a major global health problem for which an effective vaccine is required urgently. Prime-boost vaccination regimes involving plasmid DNA and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara-encoding liver-stage malaria antigens have been shown to be powerfully immunogenic for T cells and capable of inducing partial protection against experimental malaria challenge in humans, manifested as a delay in time to patent parasitemia. Here, we report that substitution of plasmid DNA as the priming vector with a specific attenuated recombinant fowlpox virus, FP9, vaccine in such prime-boost regimes can elicit complete sterile protection that can last for 20 months. Protection at 20 months was associated with persisting memory but not effector T cell responses. The protective efficacy of various immunization regimes correlated with the magnitude of induced immune responses, supporting the strategy of maximizing durable T cell immunogenicity to develop more effective liver-stage vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

Bejon P, Andrews L, Andersen RF, Dunachie S, Webster D, Walther M, Gilbert SC, Peto T, Hill AV. 2005. Calculation of liver-to-blood inocula, parasite growth rates, and preerythrocytic vaccine efficacy, from serial quantitative polymerase chain reaction studies of volunteers challenged with malaria sporozoites. J Infect Dis, 191 (4), pp. 619-626. | Show Abstract | Read more

We calculated the number and growth rate of Plasmodium falciparum parasites emerging in recipients of candidate preerythrocytic malaria vaccines and unvaccinated control subjects undergoing mosquito-bite challenge. This was done to measure vaccine efficacy and to distinguish the effects on blood-stage multiplication from those on liver-stage parasites. Real-time polymerase chain reaction measurements of parasite densities were analyzed by nonlinear regression and mixed-effects models. Substantial reductions in numbers of liver parasites resulted from the use of 2 immunization regimens: FP9 boosted by modified virus Ankara (MVA) encoding the malaria epitope-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein insert (92% reduction) and RTS,S/AS02 used in heterologous prime-boost immunization regimens, with MVA encoding the circumsporozoite protein (97% reduction). Forty-eight-hour growth rates in blood from control subjects were not different from those in blood from any vaccination group (mean, 14.4-fold [95% confidence interval, 11-19-fold]).

Korten S, Anderson RJ, Hannan CM, Sheu EG, Sinden R, Gadola S, Taniguchi M, Hill AV. 2005. Invariant Valpha14 chain NKT cells promote Plasmodium berghei circumsporozoite protein-specific gamma interferon- and tumor necrosis factor alpha-producing CD8+ T cells in the liver after poxvirus vaccination of mice. Infect Immun, 73 (2), pp. 849-858. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the protective mechanism in the liver induced by recombinant vaccines against the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria is important for vaccine development. Most studies in mice have focused on splenic and peripheral blood T cells and identified gamma interferon (IFN-gamma)-producing CD8+ T cells as correlates of protection, which can be induced by prime-boost vaccination with recombinant poxviruses. Invariant natural killer T (Valpha14iNKT) cells can also protect against liver stage malaria, when activated, and are abundant in the liver. Since poxviruses have nonspecific immunomodulating effects, which are incompletely understood, we investigated whether recombinant poxviruses affect the protective properties of hepatic Valpha14iNKT cells and thus vaccine efficacy. We show that intradermal vaccination with recombinant poxviruses activated Valpha14iNKT cells and NK cells in the livers of BALB/c mice while inducing IFN-gamma- and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha)-producing pre-erythrocytic stage antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Greater numbers of hepatic Valpha14iNKT cells secreted interleukin-4 than IFN-gamma. Vaccinated Valpha14iNKT-cell-deficient mice had lower, but still protective levels of hepatic and splenic IFN-gamma+ and TNF-alpha+ CD8+ T cells and better protection rates later after challenge with Plasmodium berghei sporozoites. Therefore, vaccine-activated hepatic Valpha14iNKT cells help in generating specific T cells but are not required for protection induced by recombinant poxviruses. Furthermore, double-positive INF-gamma+/TNF-alpha+ CD8+ T cells were enriched in protected livers, suggesting that cells expressing both of these cytokines may be most relevant for protection.

Young K, Frodsham A, Doumbo OK, Gupta S, Dolo A, Hu JT, Robson KJ, Crisanti A, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2005. Inverse associations of human leukocyte antigen and malaria parasite types in two West African populations. Infect Immun, 73 (2), pp. 953-955. | Show Abstract | Read more

Differences in allelic associations between populations continue to cause difficulties in the mapping and identification of susceptibility genes for complex polygenic diseases. Although well recognized, the basis of such interpopulation differences is poorly understood. We present an example of an inverse allelic association of an immune response genotype to an infectious disease in two neighboring West African populations. In this case, both the key environmental contributor, i.e., the malaria parasite, and a major biological mechanism are well defined. We show that this surprising result fits well with the predictions of a mathematical model describing the population genetics and dynamics of this interaction.

Walther M, Dunachie S, Keating S, Vuola JM, Berthoud T, Schmidt A, Maier C, Andrews L, Andersen RF, Gilbert S et al. 2005. Safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of a pre-erythrocytic malaria candidate vaccine, ICC-1132 formulated in Seppic ISA 720. Vaccine, 23 (7), pp. 857-864. | Show Abstract | Read more

ICC-1132, a recombinant virus-like particle comprising of a modified hepatitis B core protein with a B cell (NANP) and two T cell epitopes of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP), was administered i.m. as a single 50 microg dose in Seppic ISA 720 to 11 volunteers. Local reactogenicity and systemic side effects were acceptable with the predominant finding being mild pain at the injection site. This regimen induced anti-NANP antibodies in 10/11 and modest T cell responses. There was no evidence of protection from experimental challenge with P. falciparum sporozoites. Other formulations and/or multi-dose regimens will be required to enhance the immunogenicity and efficacy of ICC-1132.

McShane H, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Goonetilleke NP, Fletcher HA, Hill AV. 2005. Boosting BCG with MVA85A: the first candidate subunit vaccine for tuberculosis in clinical trials. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 85 (1-2), pp. 47-52. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for an improved vaccine against tuberculosis. Heterologous prime-boost immunization regimes induce higher levels of cellular immunity than homologous boosting with the same vaccine. Using BCG as the priming immunization in such a regime allows for the retention of the beneficial protective effects of BCG against disseminated disease in childhood. Recombinant poxviruses are powerful boosting agents, for both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Here we review the preclinical data from a BCG prime-recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A (MVA85A) boost strategy. MVA85A is now in clinical trials in the UK and Africa and the design of these trials, including the ethical and regulatory issues are discussed.

Vuola JM, Keating S, Webster DP, Berthoud T, Dunachie S, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2005. Differential immunogenicity of various heterologous prime-boost vaccine regimens using DNA and viral vectors in healthy volunteers. J Immunol, 174 (1), pp. 449-455. | Show Abstract

Heterologous prime-boost vaccination has been shown to be an efficient way of inducing T cell responses in animals and in humans. We have used three vaccine vectors, naked DNA, modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), and attenuated fowlpox strain, FP9, for prime-boost vaccination approaches against Plasmodium falciparum malaria in humans. In this study, we characterize, using two types of ELISPOT assays and FACS analysis, cell-mediated immune responses induced by different prime-boost combinations where all vectors encode a multiepitope string fused to the pre-erythrocytic Ag thrombospondin-related adhesion protein. We show that these different vectors need to be used in a specific order for an optimal ex vivo IFN-gamma response. From the different combinations, DNA priming followed by MVA boosting and FP9 priming followed by MVA boosting were most immunogenic and in both cases the IFN-gamma response was of broad specificity and cross-reactive against two P. falciparum strains (3D7 and T9/96). Immunization with all three vectors showed no improvement over optimal two vector regimes. Strong ex vivo IFN-gamma responses peaked 1 wk after the booster dose, but cultured ELISPOT assays revealed longer-lasting T cell memory responses for at least 6 mo. In the DNA-primed vaccinees the IFN-gamma response was mainly due to CD4(+) T cells, whereas in the FP9-primed vaccinees it was mainly due to CD4-dependent CD8(+) T cells. This difference may be of importance for the protective efficacy of these vaccination approaches against various diseases.

Wiart A, Jepson A, Banya W, Bennett S, Whittle H, Martin NG, Hill AV. 2004. Quantitative association tests of immune responses to antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a study of twins in West Africa. Twin Res, 7 (6), pp. 578-588. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is now considerable evidence that host genetic factors are important in determining the outcome of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). The aim of this study was to assess the role of several candidate genes in the variation observed in the immune responses to MTB antigens. In-vitro assays of T-cell proliferation, an in-vivo intradermal delayed hypersensitivity response; cytokine and antibody secretions to several mycobacterial peptide antigens were assessed in healthy, but exposed, West African twins. Candidate gene polymorphisms were typed in the NRAMP1, Vitamin D receptor, IL10, IL4, IL4 receptor and CTLA-4 genes. Variants of the loci IL10 (-1082 G/A), CTLA-4 (49 A/G) and the IL4 receptor (128 A/G) showed significant associations with immune responses to several antigens. T-cell proliferative responses and antibody responses were reduced, TNF-alpha responses were increased for subjects with the CTLA-4 G allele. The T-cell proliferative responses of subjects with IL10 GA and GG genotypes differed significantly. IL4 receptor AG and GG genotypes also showed significant differences in their T-cell proliferative responses to MTB antigens. These results yield a greater understanding of the genetic mechanisms that underlie the immune responses in tuberculosis and have implications for the design of therapeutic interventions.

McShane H, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Keating SM, Gilbert SC, Huygen K, Fletcher HA, Hill AV. 2004. Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A boosts BCG-primed and naturally acquired antimycobacterial immunity in humans. Nat Med, 10 (11), pp. 1240-1244. | Show Abstract | Read more

Protective immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis depends on the generation of a T(H)1-type cellular immune response, characterized by the secretion of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) from antigen-specific T cells. The induction of potent cellular immune responses by vaccination in humans has proven difficult. Recombinant viral vectors, especially poxviruses and adenoviruses, are particularly effective at boosting previously primed CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses against a number of intracellular pathogens in animal studies. In the first phase 1 study of any candidate subunit vaccine against tuberculosis, recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing antigen 85A (MVA85A) was found to induce high levels of antigen-specific IFN-gamma-secreting T cells when used alone in bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-naive healthy volunteers. In volunteers who had been vaccinated 0.5-38 years previously with BCG, substantially higher levels of antigen-specific IFN-gamma-secreting T cells were induced, and at 24 weeks after vaccination these levels were 5-30 times greater than in vaccinees administered a single BCG vaccination. Boosting vaccinations with MVA85A could offer a practical and efficient strategy for enhancing and prolonging antimycobacterial immunity in tuberculosis-endemic areas.

Moorthy VS, Imoukhuede EB, Milligan P, Bojang K, Keating S, Kaye P, Pinder M, Gilbert SC, Walraven G, Greenwood BM, Hill AS. 2004. A randomised, double-blind, controlled vaccine efficacy trial of DNA/MVA ME-TRAP against malaria infection in Gambian adults. PLoS Med, 1 (2), pp. e33. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Many malaria vaccines are currently in development, although very few have been evaluated for efficacy in the field. Plasmodium falciparum multiple epitope (ME)- thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (TRAP) candidate vaccines are designed to potently induce effector T cells and so are a departure from earlier malaria vaccines evaluated in the field in terms of their mechanism of action. ME-TRAP vaccines encode a polyepitope string and the TRAP sporozoite antigen. Two vaccine vectors encoding ME-TRAP, plasmid DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), when used sequentially in a prime-boost immunisation regime, induce high frequencies of effector T cells and partial protection, manifest as delay in time to parasitaemia, in a clinical challenge model. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A total of 372 Gambian men aged 15-45 y were randomised to receive either DNA ME-TRAP followed by MVA ME-TRAP or rabies vaccine (control). Of these men, 296 received three doses of vaccine timed to coincide with the beginning of the transmission season (141 in the DNA/MVA group and 155 in the rabies group) and were followed up. Volunteers were given sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine 2 wk before the final vaccination. Blood smears were collected weekly for 11 wk and whenever a volunteer developed symptoms compatible with malaria during the transmission season. The primary endpoint was time to first infection with asexual P. falciparum. Analysis was per protocol. DNA ME-TRAP and MVA ME-TRAP were safe and well-tolerated. Effector T cell responses to a non-vaccine strain of TRAP were 50-fold higher postvaccination in the malaria vaccine group than in the rabies vaccine group. Vaccine efficacy, adjusted for confounding factors, was 10.3% (95% confidence interval, -22% to +34%; p = 0.49). Incidence of malaria infection decreased with increasing age and was associated with ethnicity. CONCLUSIONS: DNA/MVA heterologous prime-boost vaccination is safe and highly immunogenic for effector T cell induction in a malaria-endemic area. But despite having produced a substantial reduction in liver-stage parasites in challenge studies of non-immune volunteers, this first generation T cell-inducing vaccine was ineffective at reducing the natural infection rate in semi-immune African adults.

Moore CE, Segal S, Berendt AR, Hill AV, Day NP. 2004. Lack of association between Toll-like receptor 2 polymorphisms and susceptibility to severe disease caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol, 11 (6), pp. 1194-1197. | Show Abstract | Read more

To investigate a putative link between genetically determined variations in Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and the occurrence of severe Staphylococcus aureus infection, the functional Arg753Gln single-nucleotide polymorphism and the GT repeat microsatellite in the TLR2 gene were examined in a large case-control study. No associations with disease or mortality attributable to these features were found.

Bornman L, Campbell SJ, Fielding K, Bah B, Sillah J, Gustafson P, Manneh K, Lisse I, Allen A, Sirugo G et al. 2004. Vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and susceptibility to tuberculosis in West Africa: a case-control and family study. J Infect Dis, 190 (9), pp. 1631-1641. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphisms have been implicated in susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), but reports have been inconsistent. We genotyped the VDR single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) FokI, BsmI, ApaI, and TaqI in 1139 case patients and control subjects and 382 families from The Gambia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. The transmission-disequilibrium test on family data showed a significant global association of TB with SNP combinations FokI-BsmI-ApaI-TaqI and FokI-ApaI that were driven by the increased transmission to affected offspring of the FokI F and ApaI A alleles in combination. The ApaI A allele was also transmitted to affected offspring significantly more often than expected. Case-control analysis showed no statistically significant association between TB and VDR variants. BsmI, ApaI, and TaqI showed strong linkage disequilibrium. The significance of the family-based associations found between TB and FokI-BsmI-ApaI-TaqI and the FA haplotype supports a role for VDR haplotypes, rather than individual genotypes, in susceptibility to TB.

Behboudi S, Moore A, Gilbert SC, Nicoll CL, Hill AV. 2004. Dendritic cells infected by recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara retain immunogenicity in vivo despite in vitro dysfunction. Vaccine, 22 (31-32), pp. 4326-4331. | Show Abstract | Read more

The administration of recombinant vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) encoding a CTL epitope (pb9) from a malaria antigen induced activation and maturation of splenic dendritic cells (DCs) in vivo. In contrast, incubation of immature dendritic cells (iDCs) with the MVA, in vitro, resulted in down-regulation of MHC class I molecules and reduced their T-cell stimulatory ability. However, the ability of the infected DC to induce an antigen-specific CTL response, in vivo, remained intact. Furthermore, the administration of recombinant MVA-infected DC, but not pb9 peptide-pulsed DC, boosted and expanded the anti-pb9 CTL response that was primed by pb9 peptide-pulsed DC. These data indicate that despite the ability of poxviruses to impair DC maturation in vivo, the important ability of MVA to boost CD8 T-cell response in vivo is mediated at the level of the infected dendritic cells.

Frodsham AJ, Hill AV. 2004. Genetics of infectious diseases. Hum Mol Genet, 13 Spec No 2 (suppl_2), pp. R187-R194. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infectious diseases represent a major health problem worldwide, both in terms of morbidity and mortality. A complex combination of environmental, pathogen and host genetic factors plays a role in determining both susceptibility to particular microbes and the course of infection. Numerous studies have now mapped and identified relevant genes using a variety of both family-based and population-based approaches. Much interest has been focused on susceptibility to malaria, HIV/AIDS and mycobacterial infection, but other bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases are receiving increasing attention. Some major genes have been identified by genome scans of multi-case families, and mouse genetics has contributed to mapping and identification of a few genes. However, the great majority of known susceptibility loci emerged from screening of likely candidate genes. The emerging picture is of highly polygenic diseases, with occasional major genes, along with significant inter-population heterogeneity. This genetic architecture likely reflects the role that evolutionary selection has played in generating and maintaining a diverse repertoire of susceptibility/resistance loci, most with individually small effects. Genome-wide association studies with large sample sizes will be required to define the majority of the relevant polygenes.

Fitness J, Floyd S, Warndorff DK, Sichali L, Mwaungulu L, Crampin AC, Fine PE, Hill AV. 2004. Large-scale candidate gene study of leprosy susceptibility in the Karonga district of northern Malawi. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 71 (3), pp. 330-340. | Show Abstract

We present a large case-control candidate gene study of leprosy susceptibility. Thirty-eight polymorphic sites from 13 genes were investigated for their role in susceptibility to leprosy by comparing 270 cases with 452 controls in Karonga district, northern Malawi. Homozygotes for a silent T-->C change in codon 352 of the vitamin D receptor gene appeared to be at high risk (odds ratio [OR] = 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6-11.4, P = 0.004), while homozygotes for the McCoy b blood group defining variant K1590E in exon 29 of the complement receptor 1 (formerly CD35) gene appeared to be protected (OR = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1-0.8, P = 0.02). Borderline evidence for association with leprosy susceptibility was found for seven polymorphic sites in an additional six genes. Some of these apparent associations may be false-positive results from multiple comparisons, and several associations suggested by studies in other populations were not replicated here. These data provide evidence of inter-population heterogeneity in leprosy susceptibility.

Fitness J, Floyd S, Warndorff DK, Sichali L, Malema S, Crampin AC, Fine PE, Hill AV. 2004. Large-scale candidate gene study of tuberculosis susceptibility in the Karonga district of northern Malawi. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 71 (3), pp. 341-349. | Show Abstract

Twenty-seven polymorphisms from 12 genes have been investigated for association with tuberculosis (TB) in up to 514 cases and 913 controls from Karonga district, northern Malawi. Homozygosity for the complement receptor 1 (CR1) Q1022H polymorphism was associated with susceptibility to TB in this population (odds ratio [OR] = 3.12, 95% Confidence interval [CI] = 1.13-8.60, P = 0.028). This association was not observed among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive TB cases, suggesting either chance association or that HIV status may influence genetic associations with TB susceptibility. Heterozygosity for a newly studied CAAA insertion/deletion polymorphism in the 3'-untranslated region of solute carrier family 11, member 1 (SLC11A1, formerly NRAMP1) was associated with protection against TB in both HIV-positive (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.49-0.99, P = 0.046) and HIV-negative (OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.46-0.92, P = 0.014) TB cases, suggesting that the SLC11A1 protein may have a role in innate TB immune responses that influence susceptibility even in immunocompromised individuals. However, associations of other variants of SCLA11A with TB reported from other populations were not replicated in Malawi. Furthermore, associations with vitamin D receptor, interferon-gamma, and mannose-binding lectin observed elsewhere were not observed in this Karonga study. Genetic susceptibility to TB in Africans appears polygenic. The relevant genes and variants may vary significantly between populations, and may be affected by HIV infection status.

Sirugo G, Schim van der Loeff M, Sam O, Nyan O, Pinder M, Hill AV, Kwiatkowski D, Prentice A, de Toma C, Cann HM et al. 2004. A national DNA bank in The Gambia, West Africa, and genomic research in developing countries. Nat Genet, 36 (8), pp. 785-786. | Read more

Vordermeier HM, Rhodes SG, Dean G, Goonetilleke N, Huygen K, Hill AV, Hewinson RG, Gilbert SC. 2004. Cellular immune responses induced in cattle by heterologous prime-boost vaccination using recombinant viruses and bacille Calmette-Guérin. Immunology, 112 (3), pp. 461-470. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of novel vaccine strategies to replace or supplement bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is urgently required. Here we study, in cattle, the use of heterologous prime-boost strategies based on vaccination with BCG and the mycobacterial mycolyl transferase Ag85A (Rv3804c) expressed either in recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA85A) or attenuated fowlpox strain FP9 (FP85A). Five different vaccination schedules were tested in the first experiment: MVA85A followed by BCG (group 1); BCG followed by MVA85A (group 2); BCG followed by FP85A and then MVA85A (group 3); MVA85A followed by MVA85A and then FP85A (group 4); and FP85A followed by FP85A and then MVA85A (group 5). Vaccine-induced levels of cellular immunity were assessed by determining interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) responses in vitro. Prime-boost protocols, using recombinant MVA and BCG in combination (groups 1-3), resulted in significantly higher frequencies of Ag85-specific IFN-gamma-secreting cells than the two viral vectors used in combination (P=0.0055), or BCG used alone (groups 2 and 3, P=0.04). The T-cell repertoires of the calves in all five groups were significantly broader following heterologous booster immunizations than after the primary immunization. In a second experiment, the effects of BCG\MVA85A heterologous prime-boost vaccination were compared with BCG\BCG homologous revaccination. The results suggested a higher Ag85A-specific response with a wider T-cell repertoire in the MVA85A-boosted calves than in the BCG\BCG-vaccinated calves. In conclusion therefore, the present report demonstrates the effectiveness of heterologous prime-boost strategies based on recombinant MVA and BCG to induce strong cellular immune responses in cattle and prioritise such vaccination strategies for rapid assessment of protective efficacy in this natural target species of tuberculosis.

Moore AC, Hill AV. 2004. Progress in DNA-based heterologous prime-boost immunization strategies for malaria. Immunol Rev, 199 (1), pp. 126-143. | Show Abstract | Read more

An effective vaccine against malaria is urgently required to relieve the immense human suffering and mortality caused by this parasite. A successful subunit vaccine against the liver stage of malaria will require the induction of high levels of protective T cells. Despite success in small animal models, DNA vaccines fail to induce strong cellular immune responses in humans. However, DNA vaccines can induce a T-cell response that can be strongly boosted by recombinant viral vectors. We have evaluated this heterologous prime-boost approach using the Plasmodium berghei mouse model for immunogenicity and protective efficacy against malaria challenge using combinations of plasmid DNA, recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara, fowlpox virus, and non-replicating adenovirus. We have proceeded to test immunogenicity and efficacy of successful heterologous prime-boost vaccines in phase I/IIa trials in malaria naïve subjects in the UK and in semi-immune individuals in The Gambia. In these clinical trials, remarkably high levels of effector T-cell responses have been induced and significant protection documented in a human sporozoite challenge model. We summarize the preclinical design and development of these heterologous prime-boost vaccines and discuss the encouraging results that have been observed in vaccinated humans.

Stanton T, Boxall S, Bennett A, Kaleebu P, Watera C, Whitworth J, French N, Dawes R, Hill AV, Bodmer W et al. 2004. CD45 variant alleles: possibly increased frequency of a novel exon 4 CD45 polymorphism in HIV seropositive Ugandans. Immunogenetics, 56 (2), pp. 107-110. | Show Abstract | Read more

The CD45 (leucocyte common) antigen is a haemopoietic cell specific tyrosine phosphatase essential for antigen receptor signalling in lymphocytes, and expression of different CD45 isoforms is associated with distinct functions. Here we describe a novel polymorphism in exon 4 (A54G) of the gene encoding CD45 (PTPRC) that results in an amino acid substitution of Thr-19 to Ala in exon 4. The 54G allele was identified in African Ugandan populations and was found with a suggestive but not statistically significant increase in frequency amongst HIV-seropositive Ugandans. This suggests that the 54G variant and CD45 splicing abnormalities might be associated with HIV infection.

Yee LJ, Knapp S, Burgner D, Hennig BJ, Frodsham AJ, Wright M, Thomas HC, Hill AV, Thursz MR. 2004. Inducible nitric oxide synthase gene (NOS2A) haplotypes and the outcome of hepatitis C virus infection. Genes Immun, 5 (3), pp. 183-187. | Show Abstract | Read more

Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is an important molecule involved in the host defense against infectious agents. iNOS is encoded by the NOS2A gene and well-defined haplotypes exist with respect to this gene. We examined whether these haplotypes were associated with the outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in 619 Caucasian patients from seven European liver centres. We observed five major haplotypes: (-277A)+(-1026G)+(-1659C): haplotype 1; (-277G)+(-1026T)+(-1659C): haplotype 2; (-277G)+(-1026G)+(-1659C): haplotype 3; (-277G)+(-1026T)+(-1659T): haplotype 4; and (-277A)+(-1026T)+(-1659C): haplotype 5. Distributions of these haplotypes are comparable with those of previous studies. Homozygotes for haplotype 2 or those with haplotypes 2/4 were more likely than those with the 1/1 (wild type) combination to have self-limiting infections (odds ratios (OR)=3.43; 95% confidence intervals (95% CI): 1.10-8.0; P=0.0206 and OR=5.15; 95% CI: 1.32-14.32; P=0.0018, respectively). Conversely, carriage of haplotype 1 was associated with the lack of self-limiting disease (OR=0.48; 95% CI: 0.27-0.83; P=0.009). The effect was mainly among males (OR=0.41; 95% CI: 0.182-0.942; P=0.031 for males, and OR=0.55; 95% CI: 0.24-1.37; P=0.136 for women). Carriage of haplotype 1 was not associated with initial response (P=0.268) or sustained response (P>0.171). Combinations of haplotypes 1/4 were more likely to respond to interferon monotherapy in comparison of initial responders to nonresponders (OR=2.25; 95% CI: 1.05-5.68; P=0.0275).

Wallace C, Fitness J, Hennig B, Sichali L, Mwaungulu L, Pönnighaus JM, Warndorff DK, Clayton D, Fine PE, Hill AV. 2004. Linkage analysis of susceptibility to leprosy type using an IBD regression method. Genes Immun, 5 (3), pp. 221-225. | Show Abstract | Read more

Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae, which is manifested across a wide clinical spectrum. There is evidence that susceptibility both to leprosy per se and to the clinical type of leprosy is influenced by host genetic factors. This paper describes the application of an identity by descent regression search for genetic determinants of leprosy type among families from Karonga District, Northern Malawi. Suggestive evidence was found for linkage to leprosy type on chr 21q22 (P<0.001). The methodological implications of the approach and the findings are discussed.

Cooke GS, Campbell SJ, Fielding K, Sillah J, Manneh K, Sirugo G, Bennett S, McAdam KP, Lienhardt C, Hill AV. 2004. Interleukin-8 polymorphism is not associated with pulmonary tuberculosis in the gambia. J Infect Dis, 189 (8), pp. 1545-1546. | Read more

Reece WH, Pinder M, Gothard PK, Milligan P, Bojang K, Doherty T, Plebanski M, Akinwunmi P, Everaere S, Watkins KR et al. 2004. A CD4(+) T-cell immune response to a conserved epitope in the circumsporozoite protein correlates with protection from natural Plasmodium falciparum infection and disease. Nat Med, 10 (4), pp. 406-410. | Show Abstract | Read more

Many human T-cell responses specific for epitopes in Plasmodium falciparum have been described, but none has yet been shown to be predictive of protection against natural malaria infection. Here we report a peptide-specific T-cell assay that is strongly associated with protection of humans in The Gambia, West Africa, from both malaria infection and disease. The assay detects interferon-gamma-secreting CD4(+) T cells specific for a conserved sequence from the circumsporozoite protein, which binds to many human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR types. The correlation was observed using a cultured, rather than an ex vivo, ELISPOT assay that measures central memory-'type T cells rather than activated effector T cells. These findings provide direct evidence for a protective role for CD4(+) T cells in humans, and a precise target for the design of improved vaccines against P. falciparum.

Anderson RJ, Hannan CM, Gilbert SC, Laidlaw SM, Sheu EG, Korten S, Sinden R, Butcher GA, Skinner MA, Hill AV. 2004. Enhanced CD8+ T cell immune responses and protection elicited against Plasmodium berghei malaria by prime boost immunization regimens using a novel attenuated fowlpox virus. J Immunol, 172 (5), pp. 3094-3100. | Show Abstract

Sterile immunity can be provided against the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria by IFN-gamma-secreting CD8(+) T cells that recognize parasite-infected hepatocytes. In this study, we have investigated the use of attenuated fowlpox virus (FPV) strains as recombinant vaccine vectors for eliciting CD8(+) T cells against Plasmodium berghei. The gene encoding the P. berghei circumsporozoite (PbCS) protein was inserted into an FPV vaccine strain licensed for use in chickens, Webster's FPV, and the novel FPV vaccine strain FP9 by homologous recombination. The novel FP9 strain proved more potent as a vaccine for eliciting CD8(+) T cell responses against the PbCS Ag. Sequential immunization with rFP9 and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Anakara (MVA) encoding the PbCS protein, administered by clinically acceptable routes, elicited potent CD8(+) T cell responses against the PbCS protein. This immunization regimen elicited substantial protection against a stringent liver-stage challenge with P. berghei and was more immunogenic and protective than DNA/MVA prime/boost immunization. However, further improvement was not achieved by sequential (triple) immunization with a DNA vaccine, FP9, and MVA.

Behboudi S, Moore A, Hill AV. 2004. Splenic dendritic cell subsets prime and boost CD8 T cells and are involved in the generation of effector CD8 T cells. Cell Immunol, 228 (1), pp. 15-19. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ability of the dendritic cell (DC) subsets, CD8alpha+ and CD8alpha- DCs, to initiate a CD8 T cell response or to activate memory CD8 T cells and generate effector CD8 T cells has been controversial. In this study, we analyse the capacity of splenic DC subsets to induce CD8 T cell responses to a CD8 T cell epitope (pb9) of a malaria antigen. The administration of peptide-pulsed CD8alpha- or CD8alpha+ DCs primes and boosts a primed CD8 T cell response against the malaria epitope. In vitro, depletion of CD11c(+) DCs from mouse splenocytes, immunised with recombinant vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing pb9 epitope, significantly reduced the generation of pb9-specific IFNgamma producing effector CD8 T cells, indicating that splenic DCs are involved in the development of pb9-specific IFNgamma producing effector cells. Taken together, this result shows that both DC subsets have the ability to prime and boost CD8 T cell responses and are involved in the activation of memory CD8 T cells.

Pinder M, Reece WH, Plebanski M, Akinwunmi P, Flanagan KL, Lee EA, Doherty T, Milligan P, Jaye A, Tornieporth N et al. 2004. Cellular immunity induced by the recombinant Plasmodium falciparum malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS02, in semi-immune adults in The Gambia. Clin Exp Immunol, 135 (2), pp. 286-293. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination of malaria-naive humans with recombinant RTS,S/AS02, which includes the C-terminus of the circumsporozoite protein (CS), has been shown to induce strong T cell responses to both the whole protein antigen and to peptides from CS. Here we show that strong T cell responses were also observed in a semi-immune population in The Gambia, West Africa. In a Phase I study, 20 adult male volunteers, lifelong residents in a malaria-endemic region, were given three doses of RTS,S/AS02 at 0, 1 and 6 months. Responses to RTS,S, hepatitis B surface antigen and peptides from CS were tested using lymphocyte proliferation, interferon (IFN)-gamma production in microcultures, and IFN-gamma ex vivo and cultured ELISPOT, before and after vaccination. Cytotoxic responses were tested only after vaccination and none were detected. Before vaccination, the majority of the volunteers (15/20) had detectable responses in at least one of the tests. After vaccination, responses increased in all assays except cytotoxicity. The increase was most marked for proliferation; all donors responded to RTS,S after the third dose and all except one donor responded to at least one peptide after the second or third dose. There was a lack of close association of peptide responses detected by the different assays, although in microcultures IFN-gamma responses were found only when proliferative responses were high, and responses by cultured ELISPOT and proliferation were found together more frequently after vaccination. We have therefore identified several peptide-specific T cell responses induced by RTS,S/AS02 which provides a mechanism to investigate potentially protective immune responses in the field.

Walley AJ, Aucan C, Kwiatkowski D, Hill AV. 2004. Interleukin-1 gene cluster polymorphisms and susceptibility to clinical malaria in a Gambian case-control study. Eur J Hum Genet, 12 (2), pp. 132-138. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interleukin-1 (IL1) is a potent endogenous pyrogen and inducer of the acute phase response, and these innate immune responses are an important part of the human host's initial reaction to infection by the malaria parasite. In addition, several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this region have previously been demonstrated to be associated with susceptibility to infectious disease. Therefore, a possible association with malaria susceptibility was investigated. A total of 13 polymorphic markers were used in a two-stage screening strategy to genotype a Gambian case-control study group by either restriction endonuclease digestion or the Sequenom MassARRAY assay. This involved an initial screen of 188 severe cases and 188 mild controls, and if there was a significant association with a malaria phenotype (P<0.05); this was followed by screening of the remaining 1044 samples. Two markers showed significant association with malaria: interleukin-1 alpha +4845 G --> T (P=0.035 for mild malaria versus controls) and interleukin-1 beta +3953 C --> T (P=0.030 for mild malaria versus severe malaria). Haplotypes constructed using the SNPHAP programme were not associated with any of the malaria phenotypes investigated. In summary, if IL1 variants are involved in malaria susceptibility in the Gambia at all, then the effects are small.

Moorthy VS, Good MF, Hill AV. 2004. Malaria vaccine developments. Lancet, 363 (9403), pp. 150-156. | Show Abstract | Read more

Large gains in the reduction of malaria mortality in the early 20th century were lost in subsequent decades. Malaria now kills 2-3 million people yearly. Implementation of malaria control technologies such as insecticide-treated bednets and chemotherapy could reduce mortality substantially, but an effective malaria vaccine is also needed. Advances in vaccine technology and immunology are being used to develop malaria subunit vaccines. Novel approaches that might yield effective vaccines for other diseases are being evaluated first in malaria. We describe progress in malaria vaccine development in the past 5 years: reasons for cautious optimism, the type of vaccine that might realistically be expected, and how the process could be hastened. Although exact predictions are not possible, if sufficient funding were mobilised, a deployable, effective malaria vaccine is a realistic medium-term to long-term goal.

Prieur E, Gilbert SC, Schneider J, Moore AC, Sheu EG, Goonetilleke N, Robson KJ, Hill AV. 2004. A Plasmodium falciparum candidate vaccine based on a six-antigen polyprotein encoded by recombinant poxviruses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 101 (1), pp. 290-295. | Show Abstract | Read more

To generate broadly protective T cell responses more similar to those acquired after vaccination with radiation-attenuated Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites, we have constructed candidate subunit malaria vaccines expressing six preerythrocytic antigens linked together to produce a 3240-aa-long polyprotein (L3SEPTL). This polyprotein was expressed by a plasmid DNA vaccine vector (DNA) and by two attenuated poxvirus vectors, modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and fowlpox virus of the FP9 strain. MVAL3SEPTL boosted anti-thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (anti-TRAP) and anti-liver stage antigen 1 (anti-LSA1) CD8(+) T cell responses when primed by single antigen TRAP- or LSA1-expressing DNAs, respectively, but not by DNA-L3SEPTL. However, prime boost regimes involving two heterologous viral vectors expressing L3SEPTL induced a strong cellular response directed against an LSA1 peptide located in the C-terminal region of the polyprotein. Peptide-specific T cells secreted IFN-gamma and were cytotoxic. IFN-gamma-secreting T cells specific for each of the six antigens were induced after vaccination with L3SEPTL, supporting the use of polyprotein inserts to induce multispecific T cells against P. falciparum. The use of polyprotein constructs in nonreplicating poxviruses should broaden the target antigen range of vaccine-induced immunity and increase the number of potential epitopes available for immunogenetically diverse human populations.

Aucan C, Walley AJ, Hill AV. 2004. Common apolipoprotein E polymorphisms and risk of clinical malaria in the Gambia. J Med Genet, 41 (1), pp. 21-24. | Read more

Cooke GS, Aucan C, Walley AJ, Segal S, Greenwood BM, Kwiatkowski DP, Hill AV. 2003. Association of Fcgamma receptor IIa (CD32) polymorphism with severe malaria in West Africa. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 69 (6), pp. 565-568. | Show Abstract

Malaria continues to claim the lives of more children worldwide than any other infectious disease, and improved understanding of disease immunology is a priority for the development of new therapeutic and vaccination strategies. FcgammaRIIa (CD32) contains a polymorphic variant (H/R131) that has been associated with variability in susceptibility to both bacterial diseases and Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia. We investigated the role of this polymorphism in West Africans with mild and severe malarial disease. The HH131 genotype was significantly associated with susceptibility to severe malaria (P = 0.03, odds ratio = 1.40, 95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.91). In contrast to studies of parasitemia, the presence of the R131 allele, rather than the RR131 genotype, appeared to be the important factor in protection from disease. This is the first evidence for an association between CD32 polymorphism and severe malaria and provides an example of balancing selective pressures from different infectious diseases operating at the same genetic locus.

Hellier S, Frodsham AJ, Hennig BJ, Klenerman P, Knapp S, Ramaley P, Satsangi J, Wright M, Zhang L, Thomas HC et al. 2003. Association of genetic variants of the chemokine receptor CCR5 and its ligands, RANTES and MCP-2, with outcome of HCV infection. Hepatology, 38 (6), pp. 1468-1476. | Show Abstract | Read more

The effect of host genetic variation on the outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and its treatment is poorly understood. The chemokine receptors CCR5, CCR2, and CCR3 and their ligands, RANTES, MCP-1, MCP-2, and MIP-1alpha, are involved in the immune responses and the selective recruitment of lymphocytes to the liver in HCV infection. We studied 20 polymorphisms within these genes and investigated their association with persistent carriage of HCV, severity of liver disease, hepatic inflammation, and response to treatment in a large European cohort. Significant associations were found between CCR5-delta32 and reduced portal inflammation (P =.011, odds ratio [OR]: 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09-4.84) and milder fibrosis (P =.015, OR: 1.97, 95% CI: 1.13-3.42). A promoter polymorphism at position -403 in the RANTES gene was associated with less severe portal inflammation (P =.004). An amino acid change in MCP2, Q46K, was associated with severity of fibrosis (P =.018, OR: 2.29, 95% CI: 1.14-4.58). In conclusion, our study suggests a possible role of the polymorphisms CCR5-delta32, RANTES -403, and MCP-2 Q46K in the outcome of HCV infection.

Brookes RH, Pathan AA, McShane H, Hensmann M, Price DA, Hill AV. 2003. CD8+ T cell-mediated suppression of intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth in activated human macrophages. Eur J Immunol, 33 (12), pp. 3293-3302. | Show Abstract | Read more

Animal models of tuberculosis point to a protective role for MHC class I-restricted CD8(+) T cells, yet it is unclear how these cells protect or whether such findings extend to humans. Here we report that macrophages infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, rapidly process and present an early secreted antigenic target (ESAT-6)-specific HLA class I-restricted CD8(+) T cell epitope. When cocultured with CD8(+) T cells restricted through classical HLA class I molecules the growth of bacilli within macrophages is significantly impaired after 7 days. This slow antimycobacterial activity did not correlate with macrophage lysis but required cell contact. We also found that inhibitors of apoptosis either had no effect or augmented the CD8-mediated suppressive activity, suggesting that an activation signal might be involved. Indeed we show that CD8(+) T cells were able to activate macrophages through receptors that include CD95 (Fas). Consistent with these findings the CD8-mediated suppression of mycobacterial growth was partially reversed by Fas blockade. These data identify a previously unrecognized CD8(+) T cell-mediated mechanism used to control an intracellular infection of macrophages.

Taracha EL, Bishop R, Musoke AJ, Hill AV, Gilbert SC. 2003. Heterologous priming-boosting immunization of cattle with Mycobacterium tuberculosis 85A induces antigen-specific T-cell responses. Infect Immun, 71 (12), pp. 6906-6914. | Show Abstract | Read more

Heterologous priming-boosting vaccination regimens involving priming with plasmid DNA antigen constructs and inoculating (boosting) with the same recombinant antigen expressed in replication-attenuated poxviruses have recently been demonstrated to induce immunity, based on CD4(+)- and CD8(+)-T-cell responses, against several diseases in both rodents and primates. We show that similar priming-boosting vaccination strategies using the 85A antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are effective in inducing antigen-specific gamma interferon-secreting CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, detected by a bovine enzyme-linked immunospot assay, in Bos indicus cattle. T-cell responses induced by priming with either plasmid DNA or fowlpox virus 85A constructs were enhanced by boosting with modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing the same antigen administered intradermally. On the basis of the data, it appears that intradermal priming was more effective than intramuscular delivery of the priming dose for boosting with the modified vaccinia virus Ankara strain in cattle. Using either fowlpox virus or DNA priming, there was a significant bias toward induction of CD4(+)- rather than CD8(+)-T-cell responses. These data illustrate the general applicability of priming-boosting vaccination strategies for induction of antigen-specific T-cell responses and suggest that the method may be useful for development of veterinary vaccines.

Dunachie SJ, Hill AV. 2003. Prime-boost strategies for malaria vaccine development. J Exp Biol, 206 (Pt 21), pp. 3771-3779. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is an intracellular pathogen, for which an effective vaccine is likely to require induction of cell-mediated immunity. Immunisation approaches that stimulate strong and persistent levels of effector T-cells are being sought by many researchers. DNA vaccines, recombinant protein and viral vectors were amongst the vaccine delivery systems that appeared promising for the generation of cellular immunity, and in some initial studies in small animals this goal was achieved. However, clinical trials of these candidate vaccines when used alone or in repeated homologous boosting regimes have been disappointing, with short-lived low levels of induced specific T-cell responses. Recent years have seen the development of immunisation strategies using a combination of different antigen delivery systems encoding the same epitopes or antigen, delivered at an interval of a few weeks apart. This sequential immunisation approach with different vectors is known as heterologous prime-boosting and is capable of inducing greatly enhanced and persistent levels of CD8+ T-cells and Th1-type CD4+ T-cells compared to homologous boosting. This review will summarise the key pre-clinical studies of prime-boost strategy and outline recent progress in clinical trials of this approach. Possible mechanisms of action and potential improvements to existing delivery systems will be discussed. The prime-boost approach represents an encouraging step towards establishing an effective preventative vaccine to one of the world's greatest killers.

Campbell SJ, Sabeti P, Fielding K, Sillah J, Bah B, Gustafson P, Manneh K, Lisse I, Sirugo G, Bellamy R et al. 2003. Variants of the CD40 ligand gene are not associated with increased susceptibility to tuberculosis in West Africa. Immunogenetics, 55 (7), pp. 502-507. | Show Abstract | Read more

Evidence for linkage between tuberculosis and human chromosomal region Xq26 has previously been described. The costimulatory molecule CD40 ligand, encoded by TNFSF5 and located at Xq26.3, is a promising positional candidate. Interactions between CD40 ligand and CD40 are involved in the development of humoral- and cell-mediated immunity, as well as the activation of macrophages, which are the primary host and effector cells for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We hypothesised that common variation within TNFSF5 might affect susceptibility to tuberculosis disease and, thus, might be responsible for the observed linkage to Xq26. Sequencing 32 chromosomes from a Gambian population identified nine common polymorphisms within the coding, 3' and 5' regulatory sequences of the gene. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a 3' microsatellite were genotyped in 121 tuberculosis patients and their available parents. No association with tuberculosis was detected for these variants using a transmission disequilibrium test, although one SNP at -726 showed some evidence of association in males. This finding, however, did not replicate in a separate case control study of over 1,200 West African individuals. We conclude that common genetic variation in TNFSF5 is not likely to affect tuberculosis susceptibility in West Africa and the linkage observed in this region is not due to variation in TNFSF5.

Segal S, Hill AV. 2003. Genetic susceptibility to infectious disease. Trends Microbiol, 11 (9), pp. 445-448. | Show Abstract | Read more

Our understanding of the variation in individual clinical responses to pathogens has become increasingly relevant, particularly in the face of new emerging epidemics as well as the increasing number of multi-drug-resistant organisms. An effective immune response to infection has contributed to the development of host genetic diversity through selective pressure, with an increasing number of studies characterizing the role that host genetics plays in disease susceptibility. Knowledge of the role host mechanisms play in the pathogenesis of infectious disease can contribute to the design of new therapeutic strategies. Rapid advances in the field of human genomics offer great opportunities for adopting this approach to find new insights into pathogenesis.

Knapp S, Hennig BJ, Frodsham AJ, Zhang L, Hellier S, Wright M, Goldin R, Hill AV, Thomas HC, Thursz MR. 2003. Interleukin-10 promoter polymorphisms and the outcome of hepatitis C virus infection. Immunogenetics, 55 (6), pp. 362-369. | Show Abstract | Read more

The natural outcome and response to treatment in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection varies between individuals. Whereas some variation may be attributable to viral and environmental variables, it is probable that host genetic background also plays a significant role. Interleukin (IL)-10 has a key function in the regulation of cellular immune responses and in the suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. Functional polymorphisms in the IL-10 gene have been described. We investigated the role of these polymorphisms in the outcome of HCV infection, treatment response and development of fibrosis in a case-control association study. Self-limiting infection was associated with the IL-10 (-592) AA genotype (OR=2.05; P=0.028). Persistent infection was associated with the IL-10 (-1082) GG genotype (OR=0.48; P=0.018). Sustained response to interferon therapy was associated with the IL-10 (-1082) GG genotype (OR=2.28; P=0.005) and the haplotype GCC (OR=2.27; P=0.020). The IL-10 (-1082) AA genotype and the ATA/ATA and ACC/ACC homozygous haplotypes were more frequent among patients with rapid fibrosis. Furthermore, the microsatellites IL-10.R and IL-10.G were associated with interferon response with IL-10R.2 conveying susceptibility (OR=1.80; P=0.034), and IL-10R.3 and IL-10.G13 being protective (OR=0.47; P=0.003 and OR=0.59; P=0.042, respectively). We conclude that polymorphisms in the IL-10 promoter appear to have some influence on the outcome of HCV infection, treatment and development of fibrosis.

Knapp S, Yee LJ, Frodsham AJ, Hennig BJ, Hellier S, Zhang L, Wright M, Chiaramonte M, Graves M, Thomas HC et al. 2003. Polymorphisms in interferon-induced genes and the outcome of hepatitis C virus infection: roles of MxA, OAS-1 and PKR. Genes Immun, 4 (6), pp. 411-419. | Show Abstract | Read more

Interferon stimulates the expression of a number of genes encoding enzymes with antiviral activities, including myxovirus resistance-1 (MxA), 2-5-oligoadenylate synthetase 1 (OAS-1) and double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR). We examined whether polymorphisms in these genes influenced the outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We observed a lower frequency of the GG genotype at position -88 in the MxA gene promoter in self-limiting HCV infection (OR=0.56; 95% CI: 0.35-0.8; P=0.010) and in nonresponders to therapy (OR=0.49; 95% CI: 0.25-0.95; P=0.020). This genotype predominantly influenced the outcome of treatment in patients with viral genotype 1 (OR=0.22 95% CI: 0.07-0.67; P=0.002). A polymorphism in the 3'-untranslated region of the OAS-1 gene was associated with outcome of infection (GG genotype less frequent in self-limiting infection: OR=0.43; 95% CI: 0.21-0.86; P=0.010). A polymorphism at position -168 in the promoter region of the PKR gene was associated with self-limiting infection (CT genotype: OR=2.75; 95% CI: 1.45-5.24; P=0.002). Further associations were found with a CGG trinucleotide repeat in the 5'UTR region of the PKR gene. Polymorphisms in the interferon-induced genes, MxA, OAS-1 and PKR appear thus associated with HCV outcome.

Goonetilleke NP, McShane H, Hannan CM, Anderson RJ, Brookes RH, Hill AV. 2003. Enhanced immunogenicity and protective efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis of bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine using mucosal administration and boosting with a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara. J Immunol, 171 (3), pp. 1602-1609. | Show Abstract

Heterologous prime-boost immunization strategies can evoke powerful T cell immune responses and may be of value in developing an improved tuberculosis vaccine. We show that recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara, expressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ag 85A (M.85A), strongly boosts bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-induced Ag 85A specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses in mice. A comparison of intranasal (i.n.) and parenteral immunization of BCG showed that while both routes elicited comparable T cell responses in the spleen, only i.n. delivery elicited specific T cell responses in the lung lymph nodes, and these responses were further boosted by i.n. delivery of M.85A. Following aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis, i.n. boosting of BCG with either BCG or M.85A afforded unprecedented levels of protection in both the lungs (2.5 log) and spleens (1.5 log) compared with naive controls. Protection in the lung correlated with the induction of Ag 85A-specific, IFN-gamma-secreting T cells in lung lymph nodes. These findings support further evaluation of mucosally targeted prime-boost vaccination approaches for tuberculosis.

Aucan C, Walley AJ, Hennig BJ, Fitness J, Frodsham A, Zhang L, Kwiatkowski D, Hill AV. 2003. Interferon-alpha receptor-1 (IFNAR1) variants are associated with protection against cerebral malaria in the Gambia. Genes Immun, 4 (4), pp. 275-282. | Show Abstract | Read more

The chromosome 21q22.11 cytokine receptor cluster contains four genes that encode subunits of the receptors for the cytokines interleukin-10 and interferon-alpha, -beta and -gamma that may have a role in malaria pathogenesis. A total of 15 polymorphic markers located within these genes were initially genotyped in 190 controls and 190 severe malaria cases from The Gambia. Two interferon-alpha receptor-1 (IFNAR1) gene SNPs (17470 and L168 V) showed evidence for an association with severe malaria phenotypes and were typed in a larger series of samples comprising 538 severe malaria cases, 338 mild malaria cases and 562 controls. Both the 17470-G/G and L168V-G/G genotypes were associated with protection against severe malaria, in general, and cerebral malaria, in particular (P=0.004 and 0.003, respectively). IFNAR1 diplotypes were then constructed for these two markers using the PHASE software package. The (17470-G L168V-G/17470-G L168V-G) diplotype was found to be associated with a reduced risk of cerebral malaria and the (17470-C L168V-C/17470-G L168V-G) diplotype with an increased risk of cerebral malaria (overall 3 x 2 chi(2)=12.8, d.f.=2, P=0.002 and 3 x 2 chi(2)=15.2, d.f.=2, P=0.0005, respectively). These data suggest a role for the type I interferon pathway in resistance to cerebral malaria.

McConkey SJ, Reece WH, Moorthy VS, Webster D, Dunachie S, Butcher G, Vuola JM, Blanchard TJ, Gothard P, Watkins K et al. 2003. Enhanced T-cell immunogenicity of plasmid DNA vaccines boosted by recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara in humans. Nat Med, 9 (6), pp. 729-735. | Show Abstract | Read more

In animals, effective immune responses against malignancies and against several infectious pathogens, including malaria, are mediated by T cells. Here we show that a heterologous prime-boost vaccination regime of DNA either intramuscularly or epidermally, followed by intradermal recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), induces high frequencies of interferon (IFN)-gamma-secreting, antigen-specific T-cell responses in humans to a pre-erythrocytic malaria antigen, thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (TRAP). These responses are fi