Efficacy of murine malaria sporozoite vaccines: implications for human vaccine development

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Science  24 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4800, pp. 453-456
DOI: 10.1126/science.3551073


As part of a study of potential vaccines against malaria, the protective efficacy of sporozoite subunit vaccines was determined by using the Plasmodium berghei murine malaria model. Mice were immunized with recombinant DNA-produced or synthetic peptide-carrier subunit vaccines derived from the repetitive epitopes of the Plasmodium berghei circumsporozoite gene, or with radiation-attenuated sporozoites. Immunization with subunit vaccines elicited humoral responses that were equivalent to or greater than those elicited by irradiated sporozoites, yet the protection against sporozoite challenge induced by either of the subunit vaccines was far less than that achieved by immunization with attenuated sporozoites. Passive and adoptive transfer studies demonstrated that subunit vaccines elicited predominantly antibody-mediated protection that was easily overcome whereas irradiated sporozoites induced potent cell-mediated immunity that protected against high challenge doses of sporozoites. These studies indicate that new strategies designed to induce cellular immunity will be required for efficacious sporozoite vaccines.