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J Infect Dis. 2007 May 15;195(10):1472-9. Epub 2007 Apr 5.

Prevalence of factor H-binding protein variants and NadA among meningococcal group B isolates from the United States: implications for the development of a multicomponent group B vaccine.

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  • 1Center for Immunobiology and Vaccine Development, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.



Two promising recombinant meningococcal protein vaccines are in development. One contains factor H-binding protein (fHBP) variants (v.) 1 and 2, whereas the other contains v.1 and 4 other antigens discovered by genome mining (5 component [5C]). Antibodies against fHBP are bactericidal against strains within a variant group. There are limited data on the prevalence of strains expressing different fHBP variants in the United States.


A total of 143 group B isolates from patients hospitalized in the United States were tested for fHBP variant by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, for reactivity with 6 anti-fHBP monoclonal antibodies (MAb) by dot immunoblotting, and for susceptibility to bactericidal activity of mouse antisera.


fHBP v.1 isolates predominated in California (83%), whereas isolates expressing v.1 (53%) or v.2 (42%) were common in 9 other states. Isolates representative of 5 anti-fHBP MAb-binding phenotypes (70% of isolates) were highly susceptible to anti-fHBP v.1 or v.2 bactericidal activity, whereas 3 phenotypes were approximately 50% susceptible. Collectively, antibodies against the fHBP v.1 and v.2 vaccine and the 5C vaccine killed 76% and 83% of isolates, respectively.


Susceptibility to bactericidal activity can be predicted, in part, on the basis of fHBP phenotypes. Both vaccines have the potential to prevent most group B disease in the United States.

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