Nonhuman Primate Model of Pertussis


Pertussis is a highly contagious, acute respiratory illness caused by the bacterial pathogen Bordetella pertussis. Despite nearly universal vaccine coverage, pertussis rates in the United States have been rising steadily over the last 20 years. Our failure to comprehend and counteract this important public health concern is due in large part to gaps in our knowledge of the disease and the mechanisms of vaccine-mediated protection. Important questions about pertussis pathogenesis andmechanisms 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 nonhuman 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 6 months following recovery from a pri-mary infection. Our results demonstrate that the baboon provides an excellent model of clinical pertussis that will allow re-searchers to investigate pertussis pathogenesis and disease progression, evaluate currently licensed vaccines, and develop im-proved vaccines and therapeutics. Whooping cough is a highly contagious, acute respiratory ill-ness caused by the bacterial pathogen Bordetella pertussis (for a review, see references 10 and 17). The introduction of per-tussis vaccines in the 1940s and nationwide coverage in excess o

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