The Network aims to promote multi-disciplinary approaches to address challenging vaccine-related questions. This page contains a curated list of publications that highlight high-impact and collaborative approaches.

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  • Journal article
    Bassano I, Ong SH, Lawless N, Whitehead T, Fife M, Kellam Pet al., 2017,

    Accurate characterization of the IFITM locus using MiSeq and PacBio sequencing shows genetic variation in Galliformes.

    , BMC Genomics, Vol: 18

    BACKGROUND: Interferon inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins are effectors of the immune system widely characterized for their role in restricting infection by diverse enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. The chicken IFITM (chIFITM) genes are clustered on chromosome 5 and to date four genes have been annotated, namely chIFITM1, chIFITM3, chIFITM5 and chIFITM10. However, due to poor assembly of this locus in the Gallus Gallus v4 genome, accurate characterization has so far proven problematic. Recently, a new chicken reference genome assembly Gallus Gallus v5 was generated using Sanger, 454, Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies identifying considerable differences in the chIFITM locus over the previous genome releases. METHODS: We re-sequenced the locus using both Illumina MiSeq and PacBio RS II sequencing technologies and we mapped RNA-seq data from the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) to this finalized chIFITM locus. Using SureSelect probes capture probes designed to the finalized chIFITM locus, we sequenced the locus of a different chicken breed, namely a White Leghorn, and a turkey. RESULTS: We confirmed the Gallus Gallus v5 consensus except for two insertions of 5 and 1 base pair within the chIFITM3 and B4GALNT4 genes, respectively, and a single base pair deletion within the B4GALNT4 gene. The pull down revealed a single amino acid substitution of A63V in the CIL domain of IFITM2 compared to Red Jungle fowl and 13, 13 and 11 differences between IFITM1, 2 and 3 of chickens and turkeys, respectively. RNA-seq shows chIFITM2 and chIFITM3 expression in numerous tissue types of different chicken breeds and avian cell lines, while the expression of the putative chIFITM1 is limited to the testis, caecum and ileum tissues. CONCLUSIONS: Locus resequencing using these capture probes and RNA-seq based expression analysis will allow the further characterization of genetic diversity within Galliformes.

  • Journal article
    Kratochvil S, McKay PF, Kopycinski JT, Bishop C, Hayes PJ, Muir L, Pinder CL, Cizmeci D, King D, Aldon Y, Wines BD, Hogarth PM, Chung AW, Kent SJ, Held K, Geldmacher C, Dally L, Santos NS, Cole T, Gilmour J, Fidler S, Shattock RJet al., 2017,

    A phase 1 human immunodeficiency virus vaccine Trial for cross-profiling the kinetics of serum and mucosal antibody responses to CN54gp140 modulated by two homologous prime-boost vaccine regimens

    , Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 8, ISSN: 1664-3224

    A key aspect to finding an efficacious human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine is the optimization of vaccine schedules that can mediate the efficient maturation of protective immune responses. In the present study, we investigated the effect of alternate booster regimens on the immune responses to a candidate HIV-1 clade C CN54gp140 envelope protein, which was coadministered with the TLR4-agonist glucopyranosyl lipid A-aqueous formulation. Twelve study participants received a common three-dose intramuscular priming series followed by a final booster at either 6 or 12 months. The two homologous prime-boost regimens were well tolerated and induced CN54gp140-specific responses that were observed in both the systemic and mucosal compartments. Levels of vaccine-induced IgG-subclass antibodies correlated significantly with FcγR engagement, and both vaccine regimens were associated with strikingly similar patterns in antibody titer and FcγR-binding profiles. In both groups, identical changes in the antigen (Ag)-specific IgG-subclass fingerprint, leading to a decrease in IgG1 and an increase in IgG4 levels, were modulated by booster injections. Here, the dissection of immune profiles further supports the notion that prime-boost strategies are essential for the induction of diverse Ag-specific HIV-1 responses. The results reported here clearly demonstrate that identical responses were effectively and safely induced by both vaccine regimens, indicating that an accelerated 6-month regimen could be employed for the rapid induction of immune responses against CN54gp140 with no apparent impact on the overall quality of the induced immune response. (This study has been registered at http://ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01966900.)

  • Journal article
    Gould VMW, Francis JN, Anderson KJ, Georges B, Cope AV, Tregoning JSet al., 2017,

    Nasal IgA provides protection against human influenza challenge in volunteers with low serum influenza antibody titre

    , Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol: 8, ISSN: 1664-302X

    In spite of there being a number of vaccines, influenza remains a significant global cause of morbidity and mortality. Understanding more about natural and vaccine induced immune protection against influenza infection would help to develop better vaccines. Virus specific IgG is a known correlate of protection, but other factors may help to reduce viral load or disease severity, for example IgA. In the current study we measured influenza specific responses in a controlled human infection model using influenza A/California/2009 (H1N1) as the challenge agent. Volunteers were pre-selected with low haemagglutination inhibition (HAI) titres in order to ensure a higher proportion of infection; this allowed us to explore the role of other immune correlates. In spite of HAI being uniformly low, there were variable levels of H1N1 specific IgG and IgA prior to infection. There was also a range of disease severity in volunteers allowing us to compare whether differences in systemic and local H1N1 specific IgG and IgA prior to infection affected disease outcome. H1N1 specific IgG level before challenge did not correlate with protection, probably due to the pre-screening for individuals with low HAI. However, the length of time infectious virus was recovered from the nose was reduced in patients with higher pre-existing H1N1 influenza specific nasal IgA or serum IgA. Therefore, IgA contributes to protection against influenza and should be targeted in vaccines.

  • Journal article
    Witcomb LA, Czupryna J, Francis KP, Frankel G, Taylor PWet al., 2017,

    Non-invasive three-dimensional imaging of Escherichia coli K1 infection using diffuse light imaging tomography combined with micro-computed tomography

    , Methods, Vol: 127, Pages: 62-68, ISSN: 1046-2023

    In contrast to two-dimensional bioluminescence imaging, three dimensional diffuse light imaging tomography with integrated micro-computed tomography (DLIT-μCT) has the potential to realise spatial variations in infection patterns when imaging experimental animals dosed with derivatives of virulent bacteria carrying bioluminescent reporter genes such as the lux operon from the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens. The method provides an opportunity to precisely localise the bacterial infection sites within the animal and enables the generation of four-dimensional movies of the infection cycle. Here, we describe the use of the PerkinElmer IVIS SpectrumCT in vivo imaging system to investigate progression of lethal systemic infection in neonatal rats following colonisation of the gastrointestinal tract with the neonatal pathogen Escherichia coli K1. We confirm previous observations that these bacteria stably colonize the colon and small intestine following feeding of the infectious dose from a micropipette; invading bacteria migrate across the gut epithelium into the blood circulation and establish foci of infection in major organs, including the brain. DLIT-μCT revealed novel multiple sites of colonisation within the alimentary canal, including the tongue, oesophagus and stomach, with penetration of the non-keratinised oesophageal epithelial surface, providing strong evidence of a further major site for bacterial dissemination. We highlight technical issues associated with imaging of infections in new born rat pups and show that the whole-body and organ bioburden correlates with disease severity.

  • Journal article
    Pallett MA, Crepin VF, Serafini N, Habibzay M, Kotik O, Sanchez-Garrido J, Di Santo J, Shenoy AR, Berger CN, Frankel GMet al., 2017,

    Bacterial virulence factor inhibits caspase-4/11 activation in intestinal epithelial cells

    , Mucosal Immunology, Vol: 10, Pages: 602-612, ISSN: 1935-3456

    The human pathogen enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), as well as the mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, colonize the gut mucosa via attaching and effacing lesion formation and cause diarrheal diseases. EPEC and C. rodentium type III secretion system (T3SS) effectors repress innate immune responses and infiltration of immune cells. Inflammatory caspases such as caspase-1 and caspase-4/11 are crucial mediators of host defense and inflammation in the gut via their ability to process cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18. Here we report that the effector NleF binds the catalytic domain of caspase-4 and inhibits its proteolytic activity. Following infection of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) EPEC inhibited caspase-4 and IL-18 processing in an NleF-dependent manner. Depletion of caspase-4 in IECs prevented the secretion of mature IL-18 in response to infection with EPECΔnleF. NleF-dependent inhibition of caspase-11 in colons of mice prevented IL-18 secretion and neutrophil influx at early stages of C. rodentium infection. Neither wild-type C. rodentium nor C. rodentiumΔnleF triggered neutrophil infiltration or IL-18 secretion in Cas11 or Casp1/11-deficient mice. Thus, IECs have a key role in modulating early innate immune responses in the gut via a caspase-4/11—IL-18 axis, which is targeted by virulence factors encoded by enteric pathogens.

  • Journal article
    Mehring-Le Doare KEK, 2017,

    Association between functional antibody against Group B Streptococcus and maternal and infant colonization in a Gambian cohort

    , Vaccine, Vol: 35, Pages: 2970-2978, ISSN: 1873-2518

    BackgroundVertical transmission of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a prerequisite for early-onset disease and a consequence of maternal GBS colonization. Disease protection is associated with maternally-derived anti-GBS antibody. Using a novel antibody-mediated C3b/iC3b deposition flow cytometry assay which correlates with opsonic killing we developed a model to assess the impact of maternally-derived functional anti-GBS antibody on infant GBS colonization from birth to day 60–89 of life.MethodsRectovaginal swabs and cord blood (birth) and infant nasopharyngeal/rectal swabs (birth, day 6 and day 60–89) were obtained from 750 mother/infant pairs. Antibody-mediated C3b/iC3b deposition with cord and infant sera was measured by flow cytometry.ResultsWe established that as maternally-derived anti-GBS functional antibody increases, infant colonization decreases at birth and up to three months of life, the critical time window for the development of GBS disease. Further, we observed a serotype (ST)-dependent threshold above which no infant was colonized at birth. Functional antibody above the upper 95th confidence interval for the geometric mean concentration was associated with absence of infant GBS colonization at birth for STII (p < 0.001), STIII (p = 0.01) and STV (p < 0.001). Increased functional antibody was also associated with clearance of GBS between birth and day 60–89.ConclusionsHigher concentrations of maternally-derived antibody-mediated complement deposition are associated with a decreased risk of GBS colonization in infants up to day 60–89 of life. Our findings are of relevance to establish thresholds for protection following vaccination of pregnant women with future GBS vaccines.

  • Journal article
    Bosse JT, Li Y, Rogers J, Fernandez Crespo R, Li Y, Chaudhuri R, Holden MTG, Maskell DJ, Tucker AW, Wren BW, Rycroft AR, Langford PR, BRaDP1T Consortiumet al., 2017,

    Whole genome sequencing for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae

    , Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol: 8, ISSN: 1664-302X

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of 96 clinical isolates of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, an important porcine respiratory pathogen, and the identification of AMR genes in whole genome sequence (wgs) data. Susceptibility of the isolates to nine antimicrobial agents (ampicillin, enrofloxacin, erythromycin, florfenicol, sulfisoxazole, tetracycline, tilmicosin, trimethoprim, and tylosin) was determined by agar dilution susceptibility test. Except for the macrolides tested, elevated MICs were highly correlated to the presence of AMR genes identified in wgs data using ResFinder or BLASTn. Of the isolates tested, 57% were resistant to tetracycline [MIC ≥ 4 mg/L; 94.8% with either tet(B) or tet(H)]; 48% to sulfisoxazole (MIC ≥ 256 mg/L or DD = 6; 100% with sul2), 20% to ampicillin (MIC ≥ 4 mg/L; 100% with blaROB-1), 17% to trimethoprim (MIC ≥ 32 mg/L; 100% with dfrA14), and 6% to enrofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.25 mg/L; 100% with GyrAS83F). Only 33% of the isolates did not have detectable AMR genes, and were sensitive by MICs for the antimicrobial agents tested. Although 23 isolates had MIC ≥ 32 mg/L for tylosin, all isolates had MIC ≤ 16 mg/L for both erythromycin and tilmicosin, and no macrolide resistance genes or known point mutations were detected. Other than the GyrAS83F mutation, the AMR genes detected were mapped to potential plasmids. In addition to presence on plasmid(s), the tet(B) gene was also found chromosomally either as part of a 56 kb integrative conjugative element (ICEApl1) in 21, or as part of a Tn7 insertion in 15 isolates. Our results indicate that, with the exception of macrolides, wgs data can be used to accurately predict resistance of A. pleuropneumoniae to the tested antimicrobial agents and provides added value for routine surveillance.

  • Journal article
    Joseph S, Quinn K, Greenwood A, Cope A, McKay P, Hayes P, Kopycinski J, Gilmour J, Miller A, Geldmacher C, Nadai Y, Ahmed M, Montefiori D, Dally L, Bouliotis G, Lewis D, Tatoud R, Wagner R, Esteban M, Shattock R, McCormack S, Weber Jet al., 2017,

    A comparative phase I study of combination, homologous subtype-C DNA, MVA, and Env gp140 protein/adjuvant HIV vaccines in two immunization regimes

    , Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 8, ISSN: 1664-3224

    There remains an urgent need for a prophylactic HIV vaccine. We compared combined MVA and adjuvanted gp140 to sequential MVA/gp140 after DNA priming. We expected Env-specific CD4+ T-cells after DNA and MVA priming, and Env-binding antibodies in 100% individuals after boosting with gp140 and that combined vaccines would not compromise safety and might augment immunogenicity. Forty volunteers were primed three times with DNA plasmids encoding (CN54) env and (ZM96) gag-pol-nef at 0, 4 and 8 weeks then boosted with MVA-C (CN54 env and gag-pol-nef) and glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant—aqueous formulation (GLA-AF) adjuvanted CN54gp140. They were randomised to receive them in combination at the same visit at 16 and 20 weeks (accelerated) or sequentially with MVA-C at 16, 20, and GLA-AF/gp140 at 24 and 28 weeks (standard). All vaccinations were intramuscular. Primary outcomes included ≥grade 3 safety events and the titer of CN54gp140-specific binding IgG. Other outcomes included neutralization, binding antibody specificity and T-cell responses. Two participants experienced asymptomatic ≥grade 3 transaminitis leading to discontinuation of vaccinations, and three had grade 3 solicited local or systemic reactions. A total of 100% made anti-CN54gp140 IgG and combining vaccines did not significantly alter the response; geometric mean titer 6424 (accelerated) and 6578 (standard); neutralization of MW965.2 Tier 1 pseudovirus was superior in the standard group (82 versus 45% responders, p = 0.04). T-cell ELISpot responses were CD4+ and Env-dominant; 85 and 82% responding in the accelerated and standard groups, respectively. Vaccine-induced IgG responses targeted multiple regions within gp120 with the V3 region most immunodominant and no differences between groups detected. Combining MVA and gp140 vaccines did not result in increased adverse events and did not significantly impact upon the titer of Env-specific binding antibodies, which were seen in 100% individuals. The ap

  • Journal article
    Winskill P, Walker P, Griffin J, Ghani Aet al., 2017,

    Modelling the cost-effectiveness of introducing the RTS,S malaria vaccine relative to scaling up other malaria interventions in sub-Saharan Africa

    , BMJ Global Health, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2059-7908

    Objectives: To evaluate the relative cost-effectiveness of introducing the RTS,S malaria vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa compared with further scale-up of existing interventions.Design: A mathematical modelling and cost-effectiveness study.Setting: Sub-Saharan Africa.Participants: People of all ages.Interventions: The analysis considers the introduction and scale-up of the RTS,S malaria vaccine and the scale-up of long lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs), indoor residual spraying (IRS) and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC).Main outcome measure: The number of Plasmodium falciparum cases averted in all age groups over a ten year period.Results: Assuming access to treatment remains constant, increasing coverage of LLINs was consistently the most cost-effective intervention across a range of transmission settings and was found to occur early in the cost-effectiveness scale-up pathway. IRS, RTS,S and SMC entered the cost-effective pathway once LLIN coverage had been maximised. If non-linear production functions are included to capture the cost of reaching very high coverage, the resulting pathways become more complex and result in selection of multiple interventions.Conclusions: RTS,S was consistently implemented later in the cost-effectiveness pathway than the LLINs, IRS and SMC but was still of value as a fourth intervention in many settings to reduce burden to the levels set out in the international goals.

  • Journal article
    Kaslow DC, Kalil J, Bloom D, Breghi G, Colucci AM, De Gregorio E, Madhavan G, Meier G, Seabrook R, Xu Xet al., 2017,

    The role of vaccines and vaccine decision-making to achieve the goals of the Grand Convergence in public health.

    , Vaccine, Vol: 35 Suppl 1, Pages: A10-A15

    On 17 and 18 July 2015, a meeting in Siena jointly sponsored by ADITEC and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was held to review the goals of the Global Health 2035 Grand Convergence, to discuss current vaccine evaluation methods, and to determine the feasibility of reaching consensus on an assessment framework for comprehensively and accurately capturing the full benefits of vaccines. Through lectures and workshops, participants reached a consensus that Multi-Criteria-Decision-Analysis is a method suited to systematically account for the many variables needed to evaluate the broad benefits of vaccination, which include not only health system savings, but also societal benefits, including benefits to the family and increased productivity. Participants also agreed on a set of "core values" to be used in future assessments of vaccines for development and introduction. These values include measures of vaccine efficacy and safety, incident cases prevented per year, the results of cost-benefit analyses, preventable mortality, and the severity of the target disease. Agreement on this set of core assessment parameters has the potential to increase alignment between manufacturers, public health agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and policy makers (see Global Health 2035 Mission Grand Convergence [1]). The following sections capture the deliberations of a workshop (Working Group 4) chartered to: (1) review the list of 24 parameters selected from SMART vaccines (see the companion papers by Timmis et al. and Madhavan et al., respectively) to determine which represent factors (see Table 1) that should be taken into account when evaluating the role of vaccines in maximizing the success of the Global Health 2035 Grand Convergence; (2) develop 3-5 "core values" that should be taken into account when evaluating vaccines at various stages of development; and (3) determine how vaccines can best contribute to the Global Health 2035 Grand Convergence effort.

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