Recombinant protective antigen 102 (rPA102): profile of a second-generation anthrax vaccine

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Recent terrorist attacks involving the use ofBacillus anthracisspores have stimulated interest in the development of new vaccines for anthrax prevention. Studies of the pathogenesis of anthrax and of the immune responses following infection and immunization underscore the pivotal role that antibodies to the protective antigen play in protection. The most promising vaccine candidates contain purified recombinant protective antigen. Clinical trials of one of these, recombinant protective antigen (rPA)102, are underway. Initial results suggest that rPA102 is well tollerated and immunogenic. Additional trials are necessary to identify optimal formulations and immunization regimens for pre- and postexposure prophylaxis. Future licensure of these and other candidate vaccines will depend on their safety and immunogenicity profiles in humans, and their ability to confer protection in animal models of inhalational anthrax.

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