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Advisory Committee Chair

David E Briles

Advisory Committee Members

William Benjamin

Vithal Ghanta

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Despite the availability of vaccines for pneumococcal infections, their protective efficacy is not ideal. This problem is due to the replacement of the strains that are not covered by the current vaccines. One potential resolution of this problem is to develop a pneumococcal vaccine that is not limited to serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae . On the surface of pneumococci, there are several virulence factors in addition to capsule. Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) is a major virulence factor that presents on the surface of virtually all pneumococcal strains. PspA is also known to elicit protective immune responses and as a result PspA is a strong candidate for a proteinbased vaccine. However, an in vitro assay to test the protective capacity of immunity PspA is not available. Therefore, developing an in vitro assay that can measure the killing of pneumococci by anti-PspA antibody is necessary. The modified surface killing assay (MSKA) is a complement and antibody-dependent assay that measures the killing of pneumococci by phagocytic cells. We project that the MSKA will serve as a guide during phase 2 trials to identify the best vaccine dose for use in a phase 3 efficacy trial of a PspA-containing vaccine.

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