Bordetella pertussis is a Gram-negative pathogen that causes the disease whooping cough which is also known as pertussis.
Whole cell and acellular vaccines against Bordetella pertussis have greatly decreased the incidence in the human population. However, recent data from the Todd Merkel lab shows that the acellular vaccine is ineffective at blocking the spread of the disease in laboratory animals. Furthermore, the current literature shows that the incidence of pertussis is increasing to alarming levels. In the figure above, the number of cases of pertussis are plotted relative to the amount of publications with B. pertussis in the title. I argue that more basic research on B. pertussis will be needed to re-defeat this bacterial pathogen.
We are interested in identifying new vaccine antigens to update and improve the currently used acellular vaccines. We have development new model systems to better understand the immune response. In addition to testing new antigens, we are also looking into the incorporation of known B. pertussis antigens that are not currently in the acellular vaccines.