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Paper of the Month December 2016

A Recombinant G Protein Plus Cyclosporine A-Based Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine Elicits Humoral and Regulatory T Cell Responses against Infection without Vaccine-Enhanced Disease

J Immunol. 2016 Feb 15;196(4):1721-31. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1502103. Epub 2016 Jan 20


Li C, Zhou X, Zhong Y, Li C, Dong A, He Z, Zhang S, Wang B


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection can cause severe disease in the lower respiratory tract of infants and older people. Vaccination with a formalin-inactivated RSV vaccine (FI-RSV) and subsequent RSV infection has led to mild to severe pneumonia with two deaths among vaccinees. The vaccine-enhanced disease (VED) was recently demonstrated to be due to an elevated level of Th2 cell responses following loss of regulatory T (Treg) cells from the lungs. To induce high levels of neutralizing Abs and minimize pathogenic T cell responses, we developed a novel strategy of immunizing animals with a recombinant RSV G protein together with cyclosporine A. This novel vaccine induced not only a higher level of neutralizing Abs against RSV infection, but, most importantly, also significantly higher levels of Treg cells that suppressed VED in the lung after RSV infection. The induced responses provided protection against RSV challenge with no sign of pneumonia or bronchitis. Treg cell production of IL-10 was one of the key factors to suppress VED. These finding indicate that G protein plus cyclosporine A could be a promising vaccine against RSV infection in children and older people.