Investigating the efficacy of a canine rabies vaccine following storage outside of the cold-chain in a Passive Cooling Device

Lugelo, A., Hampson, K. , Czupryna, A. , Bigambo, M., Mcelhinney, L. M., Marston, D., Kazwala, R. and Lankester, F. (2021) Investigating the efficacy of a canine rabies vaccine following storage outside of the cold-chain in a Passive Cooling Device. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 8, 728271. (doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.728271) (PMID:34660765) (PMCID:PMC8511528)

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Background: Thermostable vaccines greatly improved the reach and impact of large-scale programmes to eliminate infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio, and rinderpest. A study from 2015 demonstrated that the potency of the Nobivac® Rabies vaccine was not impacted following experimental storage at 30°C for 3 months. Whether the vaccine would remain efficacious following storage under more natural, fluctuating temperature conditions remains unknown. We carried out a randomised controlled non-inferiority trial to compare serological responses in dogs following vaccination with doses stored under cold chain conditions with those stored within a locally made Passive Cooling Device (“Zeepot”) under fluctuating temperature conditions. Materials and Methods: Nobivac® Rabies vaccine was stored under either cold-chain conditions or within the Zeepot for 2 months. Daily ambient temperatures and temperatures within the Zeepot were recorded every 3 h. Following storage, 412 domestic dogs were randomly assigned to receive either cold-chain or Zeepot stored Nobivac® Rabies vaccine. Baseline and day 28-post vaccination blood samples were collected. Serological analysis using the Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralisation assay was carried out with a threshold of 0.5 IU/ml to determine seroconversion. In addition, the impact of dog Body Condition Score, sex, and age on seroconversion was examined. Results: The serological response of dogs vaccinated using Nobivac® Rabies vaccine stored within the Zeepot was not inferior to the response of dogs vaccinated using cold-chain stored vaccine (z = 1.1, df = 313, p-value = 0.25). Indeed, the 28-day post-vaccination group geometric mean titre was 1.8 and 2.0 IU/ml for cold-chain vs. non-cold-chain storage, respectively. Moreover, the percentage of dogs that seroconverted in each arm was almost identical (85%). There was a positive linear trend between Body Condition Score (O.R. 2.2, 95% CI: 1.1–5.1) and seroconversion, suggesting dogs of poor condition may not respond as expected to vaccination. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated the potency of Nobivac® Rabies vaccine is not impacted following storage under elevated fluctuating temperatures within a Zeepot. These results have potentially exciting applications for scaling up mass dog vaccination programmes in low-and-middle income countries, particularly for hard-to-reach populations with limited access to power and cold-chain vaccine storage.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Czupryna, Dr Anna and Lankester, Dr Felix and Lugelo, Dr Ahmed and Hampson, Professor Katie
Authors: Lugelo, A., Hampson, K., Czupryna, A., Bigambo, M., Mcelhinney, L. M., Marston, D., Kazwala, R., and Lankester, F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):2297-1769
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Lugelo, Hampson, Czupryna, Bigambo, McElhinney, Marston, Kazwala and Lankester
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8: 728271
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
301620The Science of Rabies EliminationKatie HampsonWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)207569/Z/17/ZInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine