Investigating Bordetella pertussis colonisation and immunity: Protocol for an inpatient controlled human infection model

Hans De Graaf*, Diane Gbesemete, Andrew R. Gorringe, Dimitri A. Diavatopoulos, Kent E. Kester, Saul N. Faust, Robert C. Read

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction We summarise an ethically approved protocol for the development of an experimental human challenge colonisation model. Globally Bordetella pertussis is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable death. Many countries have replaced whole cell vaccines with acellular vaccines over the last 20 years during which pertussis appears to be resurgent in a number of countries in the developed world that boast high immunisation coverage. The acellular vaccine provides relatively short-lived immunity and, in contrast to whole cell vaccines, may be less effective against colonisation and subsequent transmission. To improve vaccine strategies, a greater understanding of human B. pertussis colonisation is required. This article summarises a protocol and does not contain any results. Methods and analysis A controlled human colonisation model will be developed over two phases. In phase A, a low dose of the inoculum will be given intranasally to healthy participants. This dose will be escalated or de-escalated until colonisation is achieved in approximately 70% (95% CI 47% to 93%) of the exposed volunteers without causing disease. The colonisation period, shedding and exploratory immunology will be assessed during a 17-day inpatient stay and follow-up over 1 year. The dose of inoculum that achieves 70% colonisation will then be confirmed in phase B, comparing healthy participants exposed to B. pertussis with a control group receiving a sham inoculum. Ethics and dissemination This study has been approved by the ethical committee reference: 17/SC/0006, 24 February 2017. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed open access journals as soon as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere018594
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was supported by Periscope. Periscope has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement no. 115910. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


  • bordetella pertussis
  • colonisation
  • human challenge study
  • vaccine development
  • whooping cough


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