Effect of Maternally Derived Anti-protein and Anticapsular IgG Antibodies on the Rate of Acquisition of Nasopharyngeal Carriage of Pneumococcus in Newborns

Ojal J, Goldblatt D, Tigoi C, Scott JAG
Clin Infect Dis. 2018;66

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Background: In developing countries, introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has not eliminated circulation of vaccine serotypes. Vaccinating pregnant mothers to increase antibody concentrations in their newborn infants may reduce the acquisition of pneumococcal carriage and subsequent risk of disease. We explored the efficacy of passive immunity, attributable to anti-protein and anticapsular pneumococcal antibodies, against acquisition of carriage. Methods: We examined the rate of nasopharyngeal acquisition of pneumococci in the first 90 days of life associated with varying anticapsular and anti-protein antibody concentrations in infant cord/maternal venous blood in Kilifi, Kenya. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazard models to estimate continuous functions relating acquisition of nasopharyngeal carriage to the concentration of maternally derived antibody. Results: Cord blood or maternal venous samples were collected from 976 mother-infant pairs. Pneumococci were acquired 561 times during 33,905 person-days of follow-up. Increasing concentrations of anti-protein antibodies were associated with either a reduction (PhtD1, PspAFam2, Spr0096, StkP) or, paradoxically, an increase (CbpA, LytC, PcpA, PiaA, PspAFam1, RrgBT4) in acquisition rate. We observed a nonsignificant reduction in the incidence of homologous carriage acquisition with high concentrations of maternally derived anticapsular antibodies to 5 serotypes (6A, 6B, 14, 19F, and 23F). Conclusion: The protective efficacy of several anti-protein antibodies supports the strategy of maternal vaccination to protect young infants from carriage and invasive disease. We were not able to demonstrate that passive anticapsular antibodies were protective against carriage acquisition at naturally occurring concentrations though it remains possible they may do so at the higher concentrations elicited by vaccination.