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Vaccine. 2013 Apr 12;31(16):2042-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.02.044. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Reduced Poliovirus vaccine neutralising-antibody titres in infants with maternal HIV-exposure.

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Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.



Maternally HIV-exposed (mHIV-EU) infants have poor health even without HIV-1 infection. The responses to vaccination are less well defined. Immunity to oral Poliovirus vaccine (OPV) was studied in Zambian infants participating in a randomised controlled trial of micronutrient fortification to improve child health.


Maternally HIV-unexposed and mHIV-EU infants were recruited at 6 months age and randomised to basal or enriched micronutrient-fortified diets for 12 months. HIV-exposed mother-infant pairs had received perinatal nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child-transmission. In the cohort of 597 infants, neutralising-antibody titres to OPV were analysed at 18 months with respect to micronutrient fortification, maternal or infant HIV-1 infection, and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection detected by antibodies and viraemia (serum DNA). Vaccine protection was defined as log2 titre>3.


Compared to uninfected children, HIV-1-infected children had reduced neutralising antibody titres to OPV, irrespective of diet: log2 titre difference (95% confidence interval) -3.44 (-2.41; -4.46), P<0.01. OPV antibody titres were lower in HIV-infected children with HCMV viraemia compared to those without viraemia at 18 months, but did not reach significance: difference -2.55 (-6.10; 1.01), P=0.14. Breast-feeding duration was independently associated with increasing OPV titre (P-value<0.01). In mHIV-EU children there were reduced neutralising antibody titres to Poliovirus compared with maternally HIV-unexposed, irrespective of diet, maternal education and socioeconomic status: log2 titre difference (95% confidence interval) -0.56 (-0.98; -0.15), P<0.01. This difference was noticeably decreased after adjusting for breast-feeding duration, suggesting that in our study population less breast-feeding by HIV-positive mothers could explain the reduced OPV titres in mHIV-EU infants.


The mHIV-EU infants had reduced polio vaccine antibody titres which were associated with reduced breast-feeding duration. This has important implications for polio eradication and control of vaccine-preventable diseases, in countries where childhood HIV-1 infection and maternal exposure are public health threats.

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