Antibody Avidity as a Surrogate Marker of Successful Priming byHaemophilus influenzaeType b Conjugate Vaccines following Infant Immunization

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Evaluation of the new generation of conjugate vaccines is hampered by the absence of reliable surrogate markers of immunologic memory. Memory responses are characterized by rapid production of relatively high-avidity antibody; thus, a solid-phase ELISA was adapted for the measurement of anti-Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) IgG avidity. In a cohort of infants vaccinated at 2, 3, and 4 months of age with Hib conjugate vaccines, avidity increased in the period following vaccination, while antibody titer fell. After a booster dose at 1 year of age, both antibody titer and avidity increased. In a cohort with anti-Hib IgG <1.0 μg/mL following primary immunization, antibody avidity after booster was low, indicating an absence of priming. Antibody avidity may help distinguish, in persons with low antibody titers, between those who are primed for memory and those who are not.

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