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The polysaccharide-encapsulated bacteria, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae are important causes of invasive bacterial infection in childhood, accounting for most of the cases of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis worldwide. Protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines have been developed over the last 20 years and have proven very effective in controlling these infections. Although studies have consistently shown that herd immunity is critical for population protection, long-term individual protection against polysaccharide-encapsulated bacteria appears to depend on persisting antibody and, perhaps to a lesser extent, immunological memory. However, some studies have reported that the concentration of serum antibody and vaccine effectiveness are not sustained after infant immunization, despite persistence of immunological memory. In this article, we detail the mechanisms of protection against invasion by encapsulated bacteria, describe the age-dependent B-cell and antibody responses to protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines and propose strategies to guarantee protection during periods of increased disease burden.

Original publication

DOI

10.1586/erv.11.14

Type

Journal

Expert Rev Vaccines

Publication Date

05/2011

Volume

10

Pages

673 - 684

Keywords

Antibodies, Bacterial, Bacterial Proteins, Bacterial Vaccines, Haemophilus Infections, Haemophilus influenzae, Humans, Immunity, Herd, Immunologic Memory, Infant, Meningococcal Infections, Neisseria meningitidis, Pneumococcal Infections, Polysaccharides, Bacterial, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Time Factors, Vaccination, Vaccines, Conjugate