Research News

Nov 28, 2023

  • Medicine

Macaque trials offer hope in pneumonia vaccine development

Development of a novel pneumococcal vaccine with confirmed efficacy in macaque monkeys

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

Credit: Department of Immunology and Genomics at the Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka Metropolitan University

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 can induce 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 in Inflammation and Regeneration.


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).

Paper Information

Journal: Inflammation and Regeneration
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
Published: November 15, 2023


Graduate School of Medicine
Kosuke Fujimoto
E-mail: kfujimoto[at]

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