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In this study phosphorylcholine (ChoP), an antigenic component found on the cell surface of major bacterial pathogens, is investigated as a potential target for a putative single vaccine with activity against multiple respiratory pathogens and, in particular, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. A number of experiments were performed using human ChoP-specific antibody purified from pooled serum gamma globulin. Initially, purified ChoP antibody was shown to recognise both ChoP+H influenzae and pneumococcal lipoteichoic acid. Subsequently it was shown that the antibody was primarily of the IgG2 subtype. The authors then went on to perform in vitro killing assays and demonstrated effectiveness against some clinical isolates of non-typable H influenzae and some serotypes of S pneumoniae. Finally, passive immunisation using intraperitoneal injection of human anti-ChoP antibody into mice, followed by intraperitoneal pneumococcal challenge (of the less virulent transparent type), conferred 100% survival on the mice.
Strategies of immunisation designed to increase levels of anti-ChoP IgG2 antibody may enhance host defences against many major bacterial infections of the respiratory tract. This results in a novel vaccine approach—namely, one vaccine for multiple pathogens.
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