Protective efficacy in humans of killed whole-vibrio oral cholera vaccine with and without the B subunit of cholera toxin

R. E. Black, M. M. Levine, M. L. Clements, C. R. Young, A. M. Svennerholm, J. Holmgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Natural protection from cholera is associated with local intestinal antibacterial and antitoxic antibodies, which appear to act synergistically. Although current parenteral cholera vaccines offer insufficient protection, new vaccines administered orally have more promise. Killed Vibrio cholerae, alone or given with the B subunit of cholera toxin, was evaluated in adult volunteers. Vaccinees, who received three doses of either vaccine, and unvaccinated controls ingested 106 V. cholerae organisms to determine the protective efficacy of the vaccines. The combination vaccine provided 64% protection, and the whole vibrio vaccine given alone provided 56% protection. In addition, illnesses in vaccines were milder than those in controls, and both vaccines gave complete protection against more severe disease. This substantial level of protection against a dose of V. cholerae that caused cholera in nearly 90% of controls suggests that these vaccines might provide at least as high a level of protection if given to the population of an endemic area. Indeed, a field efficacy trial is underway in Bangladesh, and preliminary data indicate a protective efficacy of 85% for a killed whole vibrio plus B subunit vaccine similar to that tested in volunteers and an efficacy of 58% for the killed whole vibrio vaccine alone. Thus, the studies in human volunteers were successful in predicting the substantial protection afforded by the vaccines in a cholera endemic area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1116-1120
Number of pages5
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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