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Infect Immun. 1994 Aug;62(8):3236-43.

Neonatal mouse protection against infection with multiple group B streptococcal (GBS) serotypes by maternal immunization with a tetravalent GBS polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine.

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Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Most cases of neonatal sepsis and meningitis caused by group B streptococci (GBS) are attributable to one of four major capsular serotypes: Ia, Ib, II, or III. Because resistance to infection with GBS has been correlated with the presence of serum antibodies to the type-specific capsular polysaccharides in both experimental animals and human neonates, efforts have been made to elicit protective immunity with GBS capsular polysaccharide vaccines. However, the GBS capsular polysaccharides alone are not highly immunogenic in either animals or human volunteers. Therefore, we and other investigators have attempted to enhance immunogenicity by coupling individual capsular polysaccharides to a carrier protein. Here we report the synthesis and immunogenicity in rabbits of a GBS type Ib polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid vaccine prepared by the direct, covalent attachment of tetanus toxoid to a selected number of sialic acid residues on the type-specific polysaccharide. In addition, the Ib polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine was combined with similar tetanus toxoid conjugates of GBS type Ia, II, and III polysaccharides to form a tetravalent GBS conjugate vaccine. Protective efficacy of the GBS tetravalent conjugate vaccine was demonstrated in a mouse maternal immunization-neonatal challenge model of GBS infection. The results support testing in human subjects of a multivalent GBS conjugate vaccine of this design, with the eventual goal of protecting newborns against GBS infection.

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