Tsai CM, Soper N, Bennett M, Fallon JK, Michell AR, Alter G, Liu GY, Thomsen I. Adoptive Transfer of Serum Samples From Children With Invasive Staphylococcal Infection and Protection Against Staphylococcus aureus Sepsis. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2020 Aug 6. PMID: 32990305 [PubMed]
A successful Staphylococcus aureus vaccine remains elusive, and one controversy in the field is whether humans generate a protective adaptive immune response to infection. We developed a bacterial challenge murine assay that directly assesses the protective capacity of adoptively transferred human serum samples. We first validated the model by showing that postpneumococcal vaccine serum samples from humans induced effective clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae in mice. We then found that human serum samples adoptively transferred from children with invasive S. aureus infections exhibited protection from disease in a murine model, with some samples conferring near complete protection. These findings demonstrate that human serum samples are capable of conferring a protective adaptive response generated by humans during invasive staphylococcal disease, allowing for the study of protective factors in a murine model. Identification of the protective factors present in the most efficacious serum samples would be of high interest as potential staphylococcal vaccine candidates or passive therapeutics.