What Constitutes Protective Immunity Following Yellow Fever Vaccination?

Mokaya J, Kimathi D, Lambe T, Warimwe GM
Vaccines (Basel). 2021;9

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Yellow fever (YF) remains a threat to global health, with an increasing number of major outbreaks in the tropical areas of the world over the recent past. In light of this, the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics Strategy was established with the aim of protecting one billion people at risk of YF through vaccination by the year 2026. The current YF vaccine gives excellent protection, but its use is limited by shortages in supply due to the difficulties in producing the vaccine. There are good grounds for believing that alternative fractional dosing regimens can produce strong protection and overcome the problem of supply shortages as less vaccine is required per person. However, immune responses to these vaccination approaches are yet to be fully understood. In addition, published data on immune responses following YF vaccination have mostly quantified neutralising antibody titers. However, vaccine-induced antibodies can confer immunity through other antibody effector functions beyond neutralisation, and an effective vaccine is also likely to induce strong and persistent memory T cell responses. This review highlights the gaps in knowledge in the characterisation of YF vaccine-induced protective immunity in the absence or presence of neutralising antibodies. The assessment of biophysical antibody characteristics and cell-mediated immunity following YF vaccination could help provide a comprehensive landscape of YF vaccine-induced immunity and a better understanding of correlates of protective immunity.