Immune correlates of postexposure vaccine protection against Marburg virus

Courtney Woolsey, Allen Jankeel, Demetrius Matassov, Joan B. Geisbert, Krystle N. Agans, Viktoriya Borisevich, Robert W. Cross, Daniel J. Deer, Karla A. Fenton, Theresa E. Latham, Cheryl S. Gerardi, Chad E. Mire, John H. Eldridge, Ilhem Messaoudi, Thomas W. Geisbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Postexposure immunization can prevent disease and reduce transmission following pathogen exposure. The rapid immunostimulatory properties of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccines make them suitable postexposure treatments against the filoviruses Ebola virus and Marburg virus (MARV); however, the mechanisms that drive this protection are undefined. Previously, we reported 60–75% survival of rhesus macaques treated with rVSV vectors expressing MARV glycoprotein (GP) 20–30 minutes after a low dose exposure to the most pathogenic variant of MARV, Angola. Survival in this model was linked to production of GP-specific antibodies and lower viral load. To confirm these results and potentially identify novel correlates of postexposure protection, we performed a similar experiment, but analyzed plasma cytokine levels, frequencies of immune cell subsets, and the transcriptional response to infection in peripheral blood. In surviving macaques (80–89%), we observed induction of genes mapping to antiviral and interferon-related pathways early after treatment and a higher percentage of T helper 1 (Th1) and NK cells. In contrast, the response of non-surviving macaques was characterized by hypercytokinemia; a T helper 2 signature; recruitment of low HLA-DR expressing monocytes and regulatory T-cells; and transcription of immune checkpoint (e.g., PD-1, LAG3) genes. These results suggest dysregulated immunoregulation is associated with poor prognosis, whereas early innate signaling and Th1-skewed immunity are important for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3071
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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