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Prevention of invasive bacterial diseases by immunization with polysaccharide-protein conjugates.


Covalent binding of CPS to T cell-dependent carrier proteins to form conjugates can be done by clinically acceptable methods. As a component of a conjugate, two immunologic properties of CPS are changed: 1) their immunogenicity is increased and; 2) reinjection induces a booster response in the young (T cell-dependence). Serum antibodies induced by the CPS alone, or as a component of a conjugate, are qualitatively similar: the difference between antibodies elicited by the CPS or the conjugate is quantitative. A clinical trial with a Hib-DT conjugate showed that conjugates could confer immunity in an age group not protected by the CPS alone. (table; see text) Induction of serum CPS antibodies confers protection against capsulated bacteria in the bloodstream: their role in the interaction of these pathogens on the mucous membranes has not been characterized. Preliminary in vitro experiments suggest that secretory antibodies to non-capsular structures may also exert protective immunity.

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