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Vaccine. 1998 Aug-Sep;16(14-15):1391-5.

Potential and limitations of polysaccharide vaccines in infancy.

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Pasteur Mérieux Connaught, Marnes-la-Coquette, France.


Of infections caused by encapsulated bacteria, those due to Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib) are among the most restricted to infancy and require very early immunisation. Hib capsular polysaccharide (CPS) has the most typical T-cell independent profile. The absence of efficacy of this vaccine in infants triggered development of conjugate vaccines which are so effective that there is now no room for plain polysaccharide Hib vaccines. Pneumococcal infections pose similar problems to Hib, but are more complex. The immunogenicity of the different pneumococcal serotypes varies considerably in infancy. Although the current CPS vaccine provides limited protection in infancy, the burden of pneumococcal infection is so high that its use could be reconsidered should conjugate vaccines be available later than expected. Meningococcal infections are less a specific problem for infants. Again, serogroup immunogenicity varies widely. Group B meningococcal CPS is not immunogenic even in adults, Group C behaves as Hib CPS, whereas Group A is immunogenic as early as 6 months of age. Group A CPS may prove of interest for an infant vaccine, especially in epidemic situations. Typhoid fever is uncommon in infancy; Vi CPS is poorly immunogenic in infancy and is, therefore, of limited interest for use as an infant vaccine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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