Tailoring a Plasmodium vivax Vaccine To Enhance Efficacy through a Combination of a CSP Virus-Like Particle and TRAP Viral Vectors.
Vivax malaria remains one of the most serious and neglected tropical diseases, with 132 to 391 million clinical cases per year and 2.5 billion people at risk of infection. A vaccine against could have more impact than any other intervention, and the use of a vaccine targeting multiple antigens may result in higher efficacy against sporozoite infection than targeting a single antigen. Here, two leading preerythrocytic vaccine candidate antigens, the circumsporozoite protein (PvCSP) and the thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (PvTRAP) were delivered as a combined vaccine. This strategy provided a dose-sparing effect, with 100% sterile protection in mice using doses that individually conferred low or no protection, as with the unadjuvanted antigens PvTRAP (0%) and PvCSP (50%), and reached protection similar to that of adjuvanted components. Efficacy against malaria infection was assessed using a new mouse challenge model consisting of a double-transgenic parasite simultaneously expressing PvCSP and PvTRAP used in mice immunized with the virus-like particle (VLP) Rv21 previously reported to induce high efficacy in mice using Matrix-M adjuvant, while PvTRAP was concomitantly administered in chimpanzee adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors (viral-vectored TRAP, or vvTRAP) to support effective induction of T cells. We examined immunity elicited by these vaccines in the context of two adjuvants approved for human use (AddaVax and Matrix-M). Matrix-M supported the highest anti-PvCSP antibody titers when combined with Rv21, and, interestingly, mixing PvCSP Rv21 and PvTRAP viral vectors enhanced immunity to malaria over levels provided by single vaccines.