Influenza virus and diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, inactivated poliovirus vaccine (DTPiP) vaccines enhance the innate immune response

30 June 2017

A study recently published by Dr Alansana Darboe, Senior Scientific Officer, from the Nutrition Theme of MRC Unit The Gambia, demonstrate that the activity of ‘Natural Killer (NK) Cells, which are important for defence against virus infections, is boosted by vaccination.

The paper entitled ‘Enhancement of cytokine-driven NK cell Interferon-gamma production after vaccination of Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infected Africans’, was published in the European Journal of Immunology.

Dr Alansana Darboe, Senior Scientific Officer

Dr Alansana Darboe, Senior Scientific Officer

Jointly supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) UK and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the MRC/DFID Concordat agreement. The research findings, are part of the trivalent influenza vaccination study conducted in Keneba by the Nutrition Theme while the conjugated diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio vaccine study was done in Sukuta by the Vaccine & Immunity Theme.

Both studies were done in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) under the supervision of Dr Martin Goodier (LSHTM) and Prof Eleanor Riley (LSHTM) and with the directorship of Prof Andrew Prentice (MRCG) and Dr Ed Clarke (MRCG).

Boosting of NK cell responses was shown using two very different vaccines, one against influenza virus and the other, a combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and Bordetella pertussis bacteria and polio virus.

Enhanced responses were observed despite all of the study volunteers being infected with human cytomegalovirus, highly prevalent in the Gambia and which often dampens immune responses. It was also observed that there was a significant variation in immune responses between Gambian and UK donors after influenza vaccination.

Commenting on the research findings, Dr Alansana Darboe, first author of this publication said, “These studies demonstrate the potential for vaccines to boost innate immune responses in Gambians’’

Read more about the study on:

Alansana Darboe, Ebrima Danso, Ed Clarke, Ama Umesi, Ebrima Touray, Rita Wegmuller, Sophie E. Moore, Eleanor M. Riley, Martin R. Goodier

We would like to thank all MRCG staff and LSHTM who supported the success of this project and the study participants in West Kiang and Sukuta. We also acknowledge the input of The Gambia Medicines Board (Markieu Janneh-Kaira).