Although immunization with recombinant outer surface protein A (OspA) appears to protect mice against infection by the agent of Lyme disease, all reported experiments have involved formulations that would not be suitable for use in humans or have not used realistic challenges. This study was designed to determine whether vaccines prepared and used in a phase I human trial, including one currently being used for a phase II trial in sites with endemic Borrelia burgdorferi, conferred protection in the C3H/HeJ mouse model. The challenge was ticks collected from a major site of the trial. None of the vaccinated mice became infected or developed disease, whereas 60% of unvaccinated mice became infected. Spirochetes were destroyed within the guts of virtually all recovered challenge ticks. These preparations of recombinant OspA effectively induced immunity to protect mice from Lyme disease when bitten by ticks collected from a field trial site.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
J Infect Dis. 1995 May;171(5):1368-70