The laboratory assessment of the potential of acellular pertussis vaccines to protect against human disease is a major problem. The mouse intracerebral challenge test, which is the accepted potency assay for whole cell pertussis vaccines, is not suitable for testing acellular vaccines, and more recently developed murine respiratory infection assays have methodological drawbacks and doubtful relevance to the human infection. We have found that the ability of several Bordetella pertussis antigens to protect mice against lung colonization correlates with their ability to raise murine antibodies which inhibit the adhesion of the bacteria to Vero cells. In this report we consider the applicability of such in vitro assays, and the in vivo assays, to the potency testing of acellular pertussis vaccines.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to Dr L.A.E. Ashworth for his advice and critical evaluation of this manuscript. This work was supported by a research grant from the UK Home Office.