Declining levels of maternal antibodies were shown to sensitize infants born to dengue-immune mothers to severe disease during primary infection, through the process of antibody-dependent enhancement of infection (ADE). With the recent approval for human use of Sanofi-Pasteur’s chimeric dengue vaccine CYD-TDV and several vaccine candidates in clinical development, the scenario of infants born to vaccinated mothers has become a reality. This raises 2 questions: will declining levels of maternal vaccine-induced antibodies cause ADE; and, will maternal antibodies interfere with vaccination efficacy in the infant? To address these questions, the above scenario was modeled in mice. Type I IFN–deficient female mice were immunized with live attenuated DENV2 PDK53, the core component of the tetravalent DENVax candidate currently under clinical development. Pups born to PDK53-immunized dams acquired maternal antibodies that strongly neutralized parental strain 16681, but not the heterologous DENV2 strain D2Y98P-PP1, and instead caused ADE during primary infection with this strain. Furthermore, pups failed to seroconvert after PDK53 vaccination, owing to maternal antibody interference. However, a cross-protective multifunctional CD8+ T cell response did develop. Thus, our work advocates for the development of dengue vaccine candidates that induce protective CD8+ T cells despite the presence of enhancing, interfering maternal antibodies.
Jian Hang Lam, Yen Leong Chua, Pei Xuan Lee, Julia María Martínez Gómez, Eng Eong Ooi, Sylvie Alonso
Neutralizing antibody titers in pups born to PDK53-immunized dams and disease outcome upon challenge with homologous or heterologous DENV2 strain.