Abreu-Mota T, Hagen KR, Cooper K, Jahrling PB, Tan G, Wirblich C, Johnson RF, Schnell MJ

Non-neutralizing antibodies elicited by recombinant Lassa-Rabies vaccine are critical for protection against Lassa fever.

Nature communications. 2018-10-11; 9.1: 4223.

Lassa fever (LF), caused by Lassa virus (LASV), is a viral hemorrhagic fever for which no approved vaccine or potent antiviral treatment is available. LF is a WHO priority disease and, together with rabies, a major health burden in West Africa. Here we present the development and characterization of an inactivated recombinant LASV and rabies vaccine candidate (LASSARAB) that expresses a codon-optimized LASV glycoprotein (coGPC) and is adjuvanted by a TLR-4 agonist (GLA-SE). LASSARAB elicits lasting humoral response against LASV and RABV in both mouse and guinea pig models, and it protects both guinea pigs and mice against LF. We also demonstrate a previously unexplored role for non-neutralizing LASV GPC-specific antibodies as a major mechanism of protection by LASSARAB against LF through antibody-dependent cellular functions. Overall, these findings demonstrate an effective inactivated LF vaccine and elucidate a novel humoral correlate of protection for LF.

PMID: 30310067