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Antibody Biomarkers Associated with Sterile Protection Induced by Controlled Human Malaria Infection under Chloroquine Prophylaxis.

  • Author(s): Obiero, Joshua M;
  • Campo, Joseph J;
  • Scholzen, Anja;
  • Randall, Arlo;
  • Bijker, Else M;
  • Roestenberg, Meta;
  • Hermsen, Cornelus C;
  • Teng, Andy;
  • Jain, Aarti;
  • Davies, D Huw;
  • Sauerwein, Robert W;
  • Felgner, Philip L
  • et al.
Abstract

Immunization with sporozoites under chloroquine chemoprophylaxis (CPS) induces distinctly preerythrocytic and long-lasting sterile protection against homologous controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). To identify possible humoral immune correlates of protection, plasma samples were collected from 38 CPS-immunized Dutch volunteers for analysis using a whole Plasmodium falciparum proteome microarray with 7,455 full-length or segmented protein features displaying about 91% of the total P. falciparum proteome. We identified 548 reactive antigens representing 483 unique proteins. Using the breadth of antibody responses for each subject in a mixture-model algorithm, we observed a trimodal pattern, with distinct groups of 16 low responders, 19 medium responders, and 3 high responders. Fifteen out of 16 low responders, 12 of the 19 medium responders, and 3 out of 3 high responders were fully protected from a challenge infection. In the medium-responder group, we identified six novel antigens associated with protection (area under the curve [AUC] value of ≥0.75; P < 0.05) and six other antigens that were specifically increased in nonprotected volunteers (AUC value of ≤0.25; P < 0.05). When used in combination, the multiantigen classifier predicts CPS-induced protective efficacy with 83% sensitivity and 88% specificity. The antibody response patterns characterized in this study represent surrogate markers that may provide rational guidance for clinical vaccine development.IMPORTANCE Infection by Plasmodium parasites has been a major cause of mortality and morbidity in humans for thousands of years. Despite the considerable reduction of deaths, according to the WHO, over 5 billion people are still at risk, with about 216 million worldwide cases occurring in 2016. More compelling, 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa bore 80% of the worldwide malaria burden. Complete eradication has been challenging, and the development of an affordable and effective vaccine will go a long way in achieving elimination. However, identifying vaccine candidate targets has been difficult. In the present study, we use a highly effective immunization protocol that confers long-lasting sterile immunity in combination with a whole P. falciparum proteome microarray to identify antibody responses associated with protection. This study characterizes a novel antibody profile associated with sterile protective immunity and trimodal humoral responses that sheds light on the possible mechanism of CPS-induced immunity against P. falciparum parasites.

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