The association between age and the development of respiratory syncytial virus neutralising antibody responses following natural infection in infants

Sande CJ, Cane PA, Nokes DJ
Vaccine. 2014;32

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To determine the age at which infants mount significant neutralising antibody responses to both natural RSV infection and live vaccines that mimic natural infection, RSV-specific neutralising antibodies in the acute and convalescent phase sera of infants with RSV infection were assayed. Age-specific incidence estimates for hospitalisation with severe RSV disease were determined and compared to age-specific neutralising antibody response patterns. Disease incidence peaked at between 2 and 3.9 months of life. Following natural infection, relative to the mean acute phase antibody titre, the mean convalescent titre was lower in the 0-1.9 month age class, no different in the 2-3.9 month age class and greater in all age classes greater than 4 months. These data suggest effective vaccination with live vaccines that mimic natural infection may not be achieved before the age of 4 months. Maternal vaccination may be an alternative to direct infant vaccination in order to protect very young babies.