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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Infect Immun 2012 Apr;80(4):1530-6

Nonhuman primate model of pertussis.

Warfel JM, Beren J, Kelly VK, Lee G, Merkel TJ


Pertussis is a highly contagious, acute respiratory illness caused by the bacterial pathogen Bordetella pertussis. Despite near universal vaccine coverage, pertussis rates in the U.S. have been steadily rising over the last twenty years. Our failure to comprehend and counteract this important public health concern is in large part due to gaps in our knowledge of the disease and mechanisms of vaccine-mediated protection. Important questions about pertussis pathogenesis and mechanisms of vaccine effectiveness remain unanswered due to the lack of an animal model that replicates the full spectrum of human disease. Because current animal models do not meet these needs, we set out to develop a non-human primate model of pertussis. We inoculated rhesus macaques and olive baboons with wild type B. pertussis strains and evaluated animals for clinical disease. We found that only 25% of rhesus macaques developed pertussis. In contrast, 100% of inoculated baboons developed clinical pertussis. A strong anamnestic response was observed when convalescent baboons were infected six-months following recovery from a primary infection. Our results demonstrate that the baboon provides an excellent model of clinical pertussis allowing researchers to investigate pertussis pathogenesis and disease progression, evaluate currently licensed vaccines and develop improved vaccines and therapeutics.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #22252879 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.06310-11
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-04 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29