Validation and characterization of a human volunteer challenge model for cholera by using frozen bacteria of the new Vibrio cholerae epidemic serotype, O139

Academic Article


  • Until recently, all epidemic strains of Vibrio cholerae were of the O1 serotype. Current epidemics have also been caused by a new serotype, Vibrio cholerae O139. Although the pathogenesis and clinical features of O139 cholera are similar to those of O1 cholera, immunity to serotype O1 does not confer immunity to serotype O139. Therefore, prior to beginning vaccine efficacy studies, we sought to validate the use of a large standardized frozen inoculum of virulent V. cholerae O139 4260B for use in a human volunteer challenge model. Healthy volunteers (n = 25) were recruited for an Internal Review Board-approved inpatient dose-escalation challenge. Our goal was to identify a dose at which the cholera attack rate and the geometric mean purge were sufficient for determining vaccine efficacy against moderate and severe disease. At a dose of 105 CFU, 8 of 10 volunteers experienced purging and had a positive stool culture for V. cholerae. However, at this dose, the geometric mean stool volume of 2,175 g was insufficient by study criteria. At a dose of 106 CFU, 14 of 15 volunteers experienced purging, with a geometric mean stool volume of 5,621 g. Disease severity was significantly greater in volunteers with blood group O than those with non-O blood types (10,353 g versus 3,555 g, P < 0.001). Following challenge, all volunteers demonstrated a significant rise in antitoxin antibodies but the serum vibriocidal titer was attenuated compared to that seen after challenge with an O1 strain. This model provides a reproducible illness of sufficient severity for testing the efficacies of new O139 or combined O1-O139 vaccines.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Cohen MB; Giannella RA; Losonsky GA; Lang DR; Parker S; Hawkins JA; Gunther C; Schiff GA
  • Start Page

  • 6346
  • End Page

  • 6349
  • Volume

  • 67
  • Issue

  • 12