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Vaccine. 1989 Oct;7(5):437-42.

Human diploid cell rabies vaccine purified by zonal centrifugation: a controlled study of antibody response and side effects following primary and booster pre-exposure immunizations.

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Division of Viral Disease, Center for Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Systemic allergic reactions following booster immunizations have complicated rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis with the human diploid cell rabies vaccine licensed in the US (conventional HDCV). We conducted two studies comparing an HDCV purified by zonal centrifugation to conventional HDCV. In a study of primary pre-exposure immunization, volunteers received one of four regimens: three 1.0-ml intramuscular (i.m.) or 0.1-ml intradermal (i.d.) doses of conventional or purified HDCV over 28 days. Although volunteers vaccinated i.m. had significantly greater rabies neutralizing antibody titres (VNA) 49 days, 91 days and 26 months after immunization began than volunteers vaccinated i.d. (p less than 0.005-p less than 0.05), there were no significant differences between vaccines. In a study of booster immunizations, 77 volunteers immunized with conventional HDCV 2 years earlier received a 0.1-ml i.d. booster with either conventional or purified HDCV. VNA was significantly greater with the conventional HDCV on days 7 and 28 after booster, but not on day 365. A moderate or severe reaction was reported by 5 (13%) of the 40 persons who received boosters with conventional HDCV, versus none of 37 who received the purified HDCV (p = 0.03). Purified HDCV appears to be preferable to conventional HDCV for booster vaccination.

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