Blinding trachoma is an ancient neglected tropical disease caused by Chlamydia trachomatis for which a vaccine is needed. We describe a live-attenuated vaccine that is safe and efficacious in preventing trachoma in nonhuman primates, a model with excellent predictive value for humans. Cynomolgus macaques infected ocularly with a trachoma strain deficient for the 7.5-kb conserved plasmid presented with short-lived infections that resolved spontaneously without ocular pathology. Multiple infections with the attenuated plasmid-deficient strain produced no inflammatory ocular pathology but induced an anti-chlamydial immune response. Macaques vaccinated with the attenuated strain were either solidly or partially protected after challenge with virulent plasmid-bearing organisms. Partially protected macaques shed markedly less infectious organisms than controls. Immune correlates of protective immunity were not identified, but we did detect a correlation between MHC class II alleles and solid versus partial protection. Epidemiological models of trachoma control indicate that a vaccine with this degree of efficacy would significantly reduce the prevalence of infection and rates of reinfection, known risk factors which drive blinding disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy