Macaque trials offer hope in pneumonia vaccine development

A research team from Osaka Metropolitan University has successfully developed a novel pneumococcal vaccine by combining the team’s proprietary mucosal vaccine technology with pneumococcal surface proteins that can cover a wide range of serotypes. Experiments were conducted using mice and macaques and it was confirmed that pneumonia caused by pneumococcal infection was clearly suppressed in the target groups of animals inoculated with the vaccine.

X-rays showing the efficacy of the novel vaccine on pneumonia caused by pneumococcal infection. Left: Control group (non-vaccine-treated); the red arrow shows the area where pneumonia developed. Right: Vaccine-treated group comprising cynomolgus macaques or crab-eating macaques; suppression of infection was observed

Osaka, Japan – The global impact of the coronavirus pandemic has ignited a renewed focus on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Researchers at Osaka Metropolitan University are making great strides in combating pneumococcal pneumonia, one of the leading causes of respiratory deaths worldwide.

Despite the existence of vaccines against pneumococcal infections such as otitis media, sinusitis, and meningitis, the prevalence of pneumococcal pneumonia remains high. Currently, around 100 new serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae have been identified, and the increase in pneumococcal infections caused by serotypes not covered by the vaccine has become a concern. This situation underscores the need for a more versatile vaccine.

Building on their previous success in mucosal responses in 2019, in which they developed a mucosal vaccine that caninduce antigen-specific mucosal immune responses, mainly immunoglobulin A (IgA), on the target mucosal surface, a research team led by Professor Satoshi Uematsu and Associate Professor Kosuke Fujimoto from the Department of Immunology and Genomics at the Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka Metropolitan University, has this time set out to bridge the gap in pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination efficacy.

To successfully develop a novel pneumococcal vaccine, the research team combined its proprietary mucosal vaccine technology with pneumococcal surface proteins that can cover a wide range of serotypes. Experiments conducted on mice and macaques have demonstrated the vaccine’s efficacy in suppressing pneumococcal pneumonia in the target animal groups.

“This research has succeeded in developing a vaccine formulation that can potentially be used in humans, which will advance the development of this vaccine for clinical applications,” said Professor Fujimoto. “This next-generation vaccine technology is expected to contribute to the treatment of infectious diseases in the future.”

Their findings were published inInflammation and Regeneration.



About OMU 

Osaka Metropolitan University is the third largest public university in Japan, formed by a merger between Osaka City University and Osaka Prefecture University in 2022. OMU upholds "Convergence of Knowledge" through 11 undergraduate schools, a college, and 15 graduate schools. For more research news, visit or follow us on Twitter: @OsakaMetUniv_en, or Facebook



Published: 28 Nov 2023

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Rina Matsuki

3-3-138 Sugimoto, Sumiyoshi-ku,
Osaka 558-8585 JAPAN

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Title: Prime-boost-type PspA3+2 mucosal vaccine protects cynomolgus macaques from intratracheal challenge with pneumococci
DOI: 10.1186/s41232-023-00305-2
Author: Chieko Yokota, Kosuke Fujimoto, Natsuko Yamakawa, Masamitsu Kono, Daichi Miyaoka, Masaki Shimohigoshi, Miho Uematsu, Miki Watanabe, Yukari Kamei, Akira Sugimoto, Natsuko Kawasaki, Takato Yabuno, Tomotaka Okamura, Eisuke Kuroda, Shigeto Hamaguchi, Shintaro Sato, Muneki Hotomi, Yukihiro Akeda, Ken J. Ishii, Yasuhiro Yasutomi, Kishiko Sunami, Satoshi Uematsu
Publication date: November 15, 2023

Funding information:

This study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan [Grant-in-Aid for Early-Career Scientists (K.F.: 19K17932), Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Research (Exploratory) (S.U.: 17K19543)], Japan Science and Technology Agency (K.J.I.: JPMJCR18H1) and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (S.U.: 21ak0101069h005, 22ak0101161h002, and 223fa727001h0001; K.J.I.: 20fk0108113h0001, 223fa627001, and 20nk0101625h0201).