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Current methods for control of tropical theileriosis in cattle suffer from several disadvantages that could be circumvented by development of an effective sub-unit vaccine. Previous work has utilised two major surface antigens (SPAG-1 and Tams1) and conventional adjuvants to provide partial protection against parasite challenge. In this study we have delivered these antigens using the prime-boost system and analysed whether a combination regime can enhance protection against lethal challenge. Delivery of the boost as recombinant protein or expressed from a recombinant MVA vector was also assessed. The results confirmed that immunisation with Tams1 alone could reduce the severity of several disease parameters compared to non-immunised controls and these effects were more marked when recombinant protein was used for boosting compared to MVA delivery. A similar outcome was obtained by immunisation with SPAG-1 alone. Significantly, delivery of SPAG-1 and Tams1 as a cocktail showed enhanced protection. This was manifest by significant improvement in a large range of clinical and parasitological parameters and, most dramatically, by the survival and recovery of 50% of the immunised animals compared to 0% of the controls. Analysis of the antibody response post-challenge showed that while there was a strong response to Tams1, no response to SPAG-1 was detected. In contrast, lymphoproliferation assays showed a significant enhancement of response at day 7 post-challenge in calves of the SPAG-1 group but a dramatic decrease of the proliferation activity in all three groups receiving Tams1. We conclude that immunisation with a cocktail of SPAG-1 and Tams1 generates a synergistic protective response that significantly improves the efficacy of recombinant vaccination against tropical theileriosis. Potential effector mechanisms that could mediate this response are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





6620 - 6628


Animals, Antibodies, Protozoan, Antigens, Protozoan, Antigens, Surface, Cattle, Cattle Diseases, Cell Proliferation, Immunization, Secondary, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Protozoan Vaccines, Survival Analysis, Theileria, Theileriasis, Vaccination, Vaccines, Subunit, Vaccinia virus