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Clin Infect Dis. 2002 May 15;34(10):1351-61. Epub 2002 Apr 22.

The role of serum antibodies in the protection against rotavirus disease: an overview.

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Viral Gastroenteritis Section, Respiratory and Enteric Viruses Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


A critical observation in understanding immunity to rotavirus is that children infected with wild virus or vaccinated with oral live vaccines develop a humoral immune response and are protected against severe disease upon reinfection. Nevertheless, much controversy exists as to whether these serum antibodies are directly involved in protection or merely reflect recent infection, leaving the protective role to mucosal or cell-mediated immunity or to other as-yet-undefined mechanisms. We have reviewed data from a variety of studies in humans, including challenge experiments in adult volunteers, longitudinal studies of rotavirus infection in young children, and clinical trials of animal and animal-human reassortant rotavirus vaccines in infants. These data suggest that serum antibodies, if present at critical levels, are either protective themselves or are an important and powerful correlate of protection against rotavirus disease, even though other host effectors may play an important role as well.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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