Hemagglutination Inhibition Antibody Titers as a Correlate of Protection Against Seasonal A/H3N2 Influenza Disease

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Background. To investigate the relationship between hemagglutinin-inhibition (HI) antibody levels to the risk of influenza disease, we conducted a correlate of protection analysis using pooled data from previously published randomized trials.

Methods. Data on the occurrence of laboratory-confirmed influenza and HI levels pre- and postvaccination were analyzed from 4 datasets: 3 datasets included subjects aged <65 years who received inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) or placebo, and 1 dataset included subjects aged ≥65 years who received AS03-adjuvanted TIV (AS03-TIV) or TIV. A logistic model was used to evaluate the relationship between the postvaccination titer of A/H3N2 HI antibodies and occurrence of A/H3N2 disease. We then built a receiver-operating characteristic curve to identify a potential cutoff titer between protection and no protection.

Results. The baseline odds ratio of A/H3N2 disease was higher for subjects aged ≥65 years than <65 years and higher in seasons of strong epidemic intensity than moderate or low intensity. Including age and epidemic intensity as covariates, a 4-fold increase in titer was associated with a 2-fold decrease in the risk of A/H3N2 disease.

Conclusions. The modeling exercise confirmed a relationship between A/H3N2 disease and HI responses, but it did not allow an evaluation of the predictive power of the HI response.

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