Attenuated PfSPZ Vaccine induces strain-transcending T cells and durable protection against heterologous controlled human malaria infection.
ABSTRACT: A live-attenuated malaria vaccine, Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite vaccine (PfSPZ Vaccine), confers sterile protection against controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) with Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) parasites homologous to the vaccine strain up to 14 mo after final vaccination. No injectable malaria vaccine has demonstrated long-term protection against CHMI using Pf parasites heterologous to the vaccine strain. Here, we conducted an open-label trial with PfSPZ Vaccine at a dose of 9.0 × 105 PfSPZ administered i.v. three times at 8-wk intervals to 15 malaria-naive adults. After CHMI with homologous Pf parasites 19 wk after final immunization, nine (64%) of 14 (95% CI, 35-87%) vaccinated volunteers remained without parasitemia compared with none of six nonvaccinated controls (P = 0.012). Of the nine nonparasitemic subjects, six underwent repeat CHMI with heterologous Pf7G8 parasites 33 wk after final immunization. Five (83%) of six (95% CI, 36-99%) remained without parasitemia compared with none of six nonvaccinated controls. PfSPZ-specific T-cell and antibody responses were detected in all vaccine recipients. Cytokine production by T cells from vaccinated subjects after in vitro stimulation with homologous (NF54) or heterologous (7G8) PfSPZ were highly correlated. Interestingly, PfSPZ-specific T-cell responses in the blood peaked after the first immunization and were not enhanced by subsequent immunizations. Collectively, these data suggest durable protection against homologous and heterologous Pf parasites can be achieved with PfSPZ Vaccine. Ongoing studies will determine whether protective efficacy can be enhanced by additional alterations in the vaccine dose and number of immunizations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: A radiation-attenuated Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoite (SPZ) malaria vaccine, PfSPZ Vaccine, protected 6 of 6 subjects (100%) against homologous Pf (same strain as in the vaccine) controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) 3 weeks after 5 doses administered intravenously. The next step was to assess protective efficacy against heterologous Pf (different from Pf in the vaccine), after fewer doses, and at 24 weeks. METHODS: The trial assessed tolerability, safety, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy of direct venous inoculation (DVI) of 3 or 5 doses of PfSPZ Vaccine in non-immune subjects. RESULTS: Three weeks after final immunization, 5 doses of 2.7 × 105 PfSPZ protected 12 of 13 recipients (92.3% [95% CI: 48.0, 99.8]) against homologous CHMI and 4 of 5 (80.0% [10.4, 99.5]) against heterologous CHMI; 3 doses of 4.5 × 105 PfSPZ protected 13 of 15 (86.7% [35.9, 98.3]) against homologous CHMI. Twenty-four weeks after final immunization, the 5-dose regimen protected 7 of 10 (70.0% [17.3, 93.3]) against homologous and 1 of 10 (10.0% [-35.8, 45.6]) against heterologous CHMI; the 3-dose regimen protected 8 of 14 (57.1% [21.5, 76.6]) against homologous CHMI. All 22 controls developed Pf parasitemia. PfSPZ Vaccine was well tolerated, safe, and easy to administer. No antibody or T cell responses correlated with protection. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that PfSPZ Vaccine can protect against a 3-week heterologous CHMI in a limited group of malaria-naive adult subjects. A 3-dose regimen protected against both 3-week and 24-week homologous CHMI (87% and 57%, respectively) in this population. These results provide a foundation for developing an optimized immunization regimen for preventing malaria. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02215707. FUNDING: Support was provided through the US Army Medical Research and Development Command, Military Infectious Diseases Research Program, and the Naval Medical Research Center's Advanced Medical Development Program.
Project description:Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) is a powerful method for assessing the efficacy of anti-malaria vaccines and drugs targeting pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic stages of the parasite. CHMI has heretofore required the bites of 5 Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoite (SPZ)-infected mosquitoes to reliably induce Pf malaria. We reported that CHMI using the bites of 3 PfSPZ-infected mosquitoes reared aseptically in compliance with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) was successful in 6 participants. Here, we report results from a subsequent CHMI study using 3 PfSPZ-infected mosquitoes reared aseptically to validate the initial clinical trial. We also compare results of safety, tolerability, and transmission dynamics in participants undergoing CHMI using 3 PfSPZ-infected mosquitoes reared aseptically to published studies of CHMI using 5 mosquitoes. Nineteen adults aged 18-40 years were bitten by 3 Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes infected with the chloroquine-sensitive NF54 strain of Pf. All 19 participants developed malaria (100%); 12 of 19 (63%) on Day 11. The mean pre-patent period was 258.3 hours (range 210.5-333.8). The geometric mean parasitemia at first diagnosis by microscopy was 9.5 parasites/µL (range 2-44). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) detected parasites an average of 79.8 hours (range 43.8-116.7) before microscopy. The mosquitoes had a geometric mean of 37,894 PfSPZ/mosquito (range 3,500-152,200). Exposure to the bites of 3 aseptically-raised, PfSPZ-infected mosquitoes is a safe, effective procedure for CHMI in malaria-naïve adults. The aseptic model should be considered as a new standard for CHMI trials in non-endemic areas. Microscopy is the gold standard used for the diagnosis of Pf malaria after CHMI, but qPCR identifies parasites earlier. If qPCR continues to be shown to be highly specific, and can be made to be practical, rapid, and standardized, it should be considered as an alternative for diagnosis.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00744133 NCT00744133.
Project description:We are using controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) by direct venous inoculation (DVI) of cryopreserved, infectious Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (SPZ) (PfSPZ Challenge) to try to reduce time and costs of developing PfSPZ Vaccine to prevent malaria in Africa. Immunization with five doses at 0, 4, 8, 12, and 20 weeks of 2.7 × 105 PfSPZ of PfSPZ Vaccine gave 65% vaccine efficacy (VE) at 24 weeks against mosquito bite CHMI in U.S. adults and 52% (time to event) or 29% (proportional) VE over 24 weeks against naturally transmitted Pf in Malian adults. We assessed the identical regimen in Tanzanians for VE against PfSPZ Challenge. Twenty- to thirty-year-old men were randomized to receive five doses normal saline or PfSPZ Vaccine in a double-blind trial. Vaccine efficacy was assessed 3 and 24 weeks later. Adverse events were similar in vaccinees and controls. Antibody responses to Pf circumsporozoite protein were significantly lower than in malaria-naïve Americans, but significantly higher than in Malians. All 18 controls developed Pf parasitemia after CHMI. Four of 20 (20%) vaccinees remained uninfected after 3 week CHMI (P = 0.015 by time to event, P = 0.543 by proportional analysis) and all four (100%) were uninfected after repeat 24 week CHMI (P = 0.005 by proportional, P = 0.004 by time to event analysis). Plasmodium falciparum SPZ Vaccine was safe, well tolerated, and induced durable VE in four subjects. Controlled human malaria infection by DVI of PfSPZ Challenge appeared more stringent over 24 weeks than mosquito bite CHMI in United States or natural exposure in Malian adults, thereby providing a rigorous test of VE in Africa.
Project description:Tanzanian adult male volunteers were immunized by direct venous inoculation with radiation-attenuated, aseptic, purified, cryopreserved Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (PfSPZ Vaccine) and protective efficacy assessed by homologous controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses were analyzed longitudinally using a Pf protein microarray covering 91% of the proteome, providing first insights into naturally acquired and PfSPZ Vaccine-induced whole parasite antibody profiles in malaria pre-exposed Africans. Immunoreactivity was identified against 2239 functionally diverse Pf proteins, showing a wide breadth of humoral response. Antibody-based immune 'fingerprints' in these individuals indicated a strong person-specific immune response at baseline, with little changes in the overall humoral immunoreactivity pattern measured after immunization. The moderate increase in immunogenicity following immunization and the extensive and variable breadth of humoral immune response observed in the volunteers at baseline suggest that pre-exposure reduces vaccine-induced antigen reactivity in unanticipated ways.
Project description:Immunization of volunteers under chloroquine prophylaxis by bites of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite (PfSPZ)-infected mosquitoes induces > 90% protection against controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). We studied intradermal immunization with cryopreserved, infectious PfSPZ in volunteers taking chloroquine (PfSPZ chemoprophylaxis vaccine [CVac]). Vaccine groups 1 and 3 received 3× monthly immunizations with 7.5 × 10(4) PfSPZ. Control groups 2 and 4 received normal saline. Groups 1 and 2 underwent CHMI (#1) by mosquito bite 60 days after the third immunization. Groups 3 and 4 were boosted 168 days after the third immunization and underwent CHMI (#2) 137 days later. Vaccinees (11/20, 55%) and controls (6/10, 60%) had the same percentage of mild to moderate solicited adverse events. After CHMI #1, 8/10 vaccinees (group 1) and 5/5 controls (group 2) became parasitemic by microscopy; the two negatives were positive by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). After CHMI #2, all vaccinees in group 3 and controls in group 4 were parasitemic by qPCR. Vaccinees showed weak antibody and no detectable cellular immune responses. Intradermal immunization with up to 3 × 10(5) PfSPZ-CVac was safe, but induced only minimal immune responses and no sterile protection against Pf CHMI.
Project description:Direct venous inoculation of 3.2 × 103 aseptic, purified, cryopreserved, vialed Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) strain NF54 sporozoites, PfSPZ Challenge (NF54), has been used for controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) in the United States, 4 European countries, and 6 African countries. In nonimmune adults, this results in 100% infection rates. We conducted a double-blind, randomized, dose-escalation study to assess the infectivity of the 7G8 clone of Pf (PfSPZ Challenge [7G8]). Results showed dose-dependent infectivity from 43% for 8 × 102 PfSPZ to 100% for 4.8 × 103 PfSPZ. PfSPZ Challenge (7G8) will allow for more complete assessment by CHMI of antimalarial vaccines and drugs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) whole-organism sporozoite vaccines have been shown to provide significant protection against controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) in clinical trials. Initial CHMI studies showed significantly higher durable protection against homologous than heterologous strains, suggesting the presence of strain-specific vaccine-induced protection. However, interpretation of these results and understanding of their relevance to vaccine efficacy have been hampered by the lack of knowledge on genetic differences between vaccine and CHMI strains, and how these strains are related to parasites in malaria endemic regions. METHODS:Whole genome sequencing using long-read (Pacific Biosciences) and short-read (Illumina) sequencing platforms was conducted to generate de novo genome assemblies for the vaccine strain, NF54, and for strains used in heterologous CHMI (7G8 from Brazil, NF166.C8 from Guinea, and NF135.C10 from Cambodia). The assemblies were used to characterize sequences in each strain relative to the reference 3D7 (a clone of NF54) genome. Strains were compared to each other and to a collection of clinical isolates (sequenced as part of this study or from public repositories) from South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. RESULTS:While few variants were detected between 3D7 and NF54, we identified tens of thousands of variants between NF54 and the three heterologous strains. These variants include SNPs, indels, and small structural variants that fall in regulatory and immunologically important regions, including transcription factors (such as PfAP2-L and PfAP2-G) and pre-erythrocytic antigens that may be key for sporozoite vaccine-induced protection. Additionally, these variants directly contributed to diversity in immunologically important regions of the genomes as detected through in silico CD8+ T cell epitope predictions. Of all heterologous strains, NF135.C10 had the highest number of unique predicted epitope sequences when compared to NF54. Comparison to global clinical isolates revealed that these four strains are representative of their geographic origin despite long-term culture adaptation; of note, NF135.C10 is from an admixed population, and not part of recently formed subpopulations resistant to artemisinin-based therapies present in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. CONCLUSIONS:These results will assist in the interpretation of vaccine efficacy of whole-organism vaccines against homologous and heterologous CHMI.
Project description:Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) by mosquito bite has been used to assess anti-malaria interventions in > 1,500 volunteers since development of methods for infecting mosquitoes by feeding on Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) gametocyte cultures. Such CHMIs have never been used in Africa. Aseptic, purified, cryopreserved Pf sporozoites, PfSPZ Challenge, were used to infect Dutch volunteers by intradermal injection. We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess safety and infectivity of PfSPZ Challenge in adult male Tanzanians. Volunteers were injected intradermally with 10,000 (N = 12) or 25,000 (N = 12) PfSPZ or normal saline (N = 6). PfSPZ Challenge was well tolerated and safe. Eleven of 12 and 10 of 11 subjects, who received 10,000 and 25,000 PfSPZ respectively, developed parasitemia. In 10,000 versus 25,000 PfSPZ groups geometric mean days from injection to Pf positivity by thick blood film was 15.4 versus 13.5 (P = 0.023). Alpha-thalassemia heterozygosity had no apparent effect on infectivity. PfSPZ Challenge was safe, well tolerated, and infectious.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The transcriptome of Plasmodium falciparum clinical isolates varies according to strain, mosquito bites, disease severity and clinical history. Therefore, it remains a challenge to directly interpret the parasite's transcriptomic information into a more general biological signature in a natural human malaria infection. These confounding variations can be potentially overcome with parasites derived from controlled-human malaria infection (CHMI) studies. METHODS:We performed CHMI studies in healthy and immunologically naïve volunteers receiving the same P. falciparum strain ((Sanaria® PfSPZ Challenge (NF54)), but with different sporozoite dosage and route of infection. Parasites isolated from these volunteers at the day of patency were subjected to in vitro culture for several generations and synchronized ring-stage parasites were subjected to transcriptome profiling. FINDINGS:We observed clear deviations between CHMI-derived parasites from volunteer groups receiving different PfSPZ dose and route. CHMI-derived parasites and the pre-mosquito strain used for PfSPZ generation showed significant transcriptional variability for gene clusters associated with malaria pathogenesis, immune evasion and transmission. These transcriptional variation signature clusters were also observed in the transcriptome of P. falciparum isolates from acute clinical infections. INTERPRETATION:Our work identifies a previously unrecognized transcriptional pattern in malaria infections in a non-immune background. Significant transcriptome heterogeneity exits between parasites derived from human infections and the pre-mosquito strain, implying that the malaria parasites undergo a change in functional state to adapt to its host environment. Our work also highlights the potential use of transcriptomics data from CHMI study advance our understanding of malaria parasite adaptation and transmission in humans. FUND: This work is supported by German Israeli Foundation, German ministry for education and research, MOE Tier 1 from the Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund, Singapore Ministry of Health's National Medical Research Council, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, USA and the German Centre for Infection Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung-DZIF).
Project description:Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) is a powerful tool to evaluate malaria vaccine and prophylactic drug efficacy. Until recently CHMI was only carried out by the bite of infected mosquitoes. A parenteral method of CHMI would standardize Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite (PfSPZ) administration, eliminate the need for expensive challenge facility infrastructure, and allow for use of many P. falciparum strains. Recently, intradermal (ID) injection of aseptic, purified, cryopreserved PfSPZ was shown to induce P. falciparum malaria; however, 100% infection rates were not achieved by ID injection. To optimize ID PfSPZ dosing so as to achieve 100% infection, 30 adults aged 18-45 years were randomized to one of six groups composed of five volunteers each. The parameters of dose (1 × 10(4) versus 5 × 10(4) PfSPZ total dose per volunteer), number of injections (two versus eight), and aliquot volume per ID injection (10 ?L versus 50 ?L) were studied. Three groups attained 100% infection: 1 × 10(4) PfSPZ in 50 ?L/2 doses, 1 × 10(4) PfSPZ in 10 ?L/2 doses, and 5 × 10(4) PfSPZ in 10 ?L/8 doses. The group that received 5 × 10(4) PfSPZ total dose in eight 10 ?L injections had a 100% infection rate and the shortest prepatent period (mean of 12.7 days), approaching the prepatent period for the current CHMI standard of five infected mosquitoes.