Comparative efficacy of Bacillus anthracis live spore vaccine and protective antigen vaccine against anthrax in the guinea pig.Infect Immun 1986; 52(2):509-12II
Several strains of Bacillus anthracis have been reported previously to cause fatal infection in immunized guinea pigs. In this study, guinea pigs were immunized with either a protective antigen vaccine or a live Sterne strain spore vaccine, then challenged with virulent B. anthracis strains isolated from various host species from the United States and foreign sources. Confirmation of previously reported studies (which used only protective antigen vaccines) was made with the identification of 9 of the 27 challenge isolates as being vaccine resistant. However, guinea pigs immunized with the live Sterne strain spore vaccine were fully protected against these nine isolates. In experiments designed to determine the basis of vaccine resistance, guinea pigs which were immunized with individual toxin components and which demonstrated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antibody titers comparable to those induced by Sterne strain vaccine were not protected when challenged with a vaccine-resistant isolate. We concluded that antibodies to toxin components may not be sufficient to provide protection against all strains of B. anthracis and that other antigens may play a role in active immunity. As a practical matter, it follows that the efficacy of anthrax vaccines must be tested by using vaccine-resistant isolates if protection against all possible challenge strains is to be assured.