A live-attenuated chlamydial vaccine protects against trachoma in nonhuman primates

Laszlo Kari, William M. Whitmire, Norma Olivares-Zavaleta, Morgan M. Goheen, Lacey D. Taylor, John H. Carlson, Gail L. Sturdevant, Chunxue Lu, Lauren E. Bakios, Linnell B. Randall, Michael J. Parnell, Guangming Zhong, Harlan D. Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2217-2223
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 24 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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