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A subunit canine
Lyme disease vaccine formulated with recombinant lipidated Osp A and OspB and saponin QS21 was assessed for safety, protective efficacy, and immunogenicity. Ten normal beagles were subcutaneously vaccinated twice at age 12 and 16 weeks, respectively. Three months after the second vaccination, the vaccinates and another 10 nonvaccinated control beagles were challenged by feeding ticks on each dog for 5 days using eight field-collected adult female and six adult male Ixodes scapularis infected with
Lyme disease spirochetes per dog. Adverse reactions associated with the vaccinations were limited to injection site swellings which occurred within the first 48 h and resolved within a week. The local reaction was independent of vaccination times and tick challenge. On the basis of typical clinical signs, xenodiagnosis, and diagnostic immunoblotting, all 10 controls were infected; five developed lameness and three of them experienced at least two to three episodes of limping during a 10-month monitoring period. In contrast, eight of ten vaccinates were protected and two infected vaccinates, as judged by xenodiagnosis, were asymptomatic. None of the protected vaccinates developed antibodies to diagnostic spirochetal antigens other than OspA and OspB. In contrast, most controls produced antibodies to borrelial antigens, but not to OspA and OspB. Antibody production in vaccinates receiving a third vaccination 10 months postchallenge was greatly boosted; the geometric mean antibody titer was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than that tested prechallenge. Thus, the subunit canine
Lyme disease vaccine was safe and protective and elicited immunological memory. Vaccinated dogs were serologically distinguishable from those naturally exposed.