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Infect Immun. 2001 Nov;69(11):6696-701.

Effects of alum adjuvant or a booster dose on immunogenicity during clinical trials of group B streptococcal type III conjugate vaccines.

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Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Erratum in

  • Infect Immun 2002 Jan;70(1):426.


Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of group B streptococcal (GBS) capsular polysaccharide (CPS)-protein conjugate vaccines in healthy adults have demonstrated their safety and improved immunogenicity compared with uncoupled CPSs. Two recent trials sought to determine (i) whether adsorption of conjugate vaccine to aluminum hydroxide would improve immunogenicity and (ii) whether the CPS-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) response could be boosted by administration of a second dose. Adsorption of GBS type III CPS-tetanus toxoid (III-TT) conjugate vaccine to alum did not improve the immune response to a 12.5-microg dose in healthy adult recipients. Four weeks after vaccination, the geometric mean antibody concentrations (GMCs) for the 15 recipients of III-TT with or without alum were 3.3 and 3.6 microg/ml, respectively. In the second trial, 36 healthy adults vaccinated previously with GBS III-TT conjugate were given a second 12.5-microg dose 21 months later. At 4 weeks after the second dose, the GMCs of type III CPS-specific IgG were similar to those measured 4 weeks after the primary vaccination, suggesting a lack of a booster response. However, 8 (22%) of the 36 participants who had undetectable III CPS-specific IgG (<0.05 microg/ml) before the first dose of III-TT conjugate exhibited a booster response to the second dose, with a fourfold-greater GMC of type III CPS-specific IgG than after the initial immunization. These results suggest that prior natural exposure to type III GBS or a related antigen may be responsible for the brisk IgG response to CPS noted in most adults after vaccination. However, a second dose of GBS III-TT conjugate vaccine may be required for adults whose initial CPS-specific IgG concentrations are very low and would also restore the initial peak-specific III CPS-IgG in responders to previous vaccination.

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