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Vaccine. 2009 Jun 24;27 Suppl 2:B112-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.04.065. Epub 2009 May 21.

Bactericidal antibody is the immunologic surrogate of protection against meningococcal disease.

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Frasch Biologics Consulting, PO Box 986, Martinsburg, WV, USA 25402.


It has been demonstrated that antibodies induced by meningococcal polysaccharide, polysaccharide-protein conjugates and outer membrane protein vaccines protect against meningococcal disease. This review will show that the induced antibody protects via complement mediated bactericidal killing and that induction of serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) is a good surrogate for efficacy. The critical role of SBA is shown by: (1) Highest incidence of meningococcal disease occurs in infants between 6 and 18 months of age, who have the lowest levels of SBA. (2) Studies published in 1969 in US Army recruits showed a direct correlation between susceptibility to meningococcal disease and absence of SBA. (3) Meningococcal polysaccharide, polysaccharide-protein conjugates, and outer membrane vesicle vaccines all induce SBA shown to be effective in direct proportion to the percent of vaccinees with SBA activity.

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