Development and use of a serum bactericidal assay using pooled human complement to assess responses to a meningococcal group a conjugate vaccine in African Toddlers

Margaret C. Bash*, Freyja Lynn, Brian Mocca, Raymond Borrow, Helen Findlow, Musa Hassan-King, Marie Pierre Preziosi, Olubukola Idoko, Samba Sow, Prasad Kulkarni, F. Marc LaForce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A meningococcal group A polysaccharide (PS) conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT) has been developed for African countries affected by epidemic meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. Complement-mediated serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) assays are used to assess protective immune responses to meningococcal vaccination. Human complement (hC′) was used in early studies demonstrating antibody-mediated protection against disease, but it is difficult to obtain and standardize. We developed and evaluated a method for sourcing hC′ and then used the SBA assay with hC′ (hSBA) to measure bactericidal responses to PsA-TT vaccination in 12- to 23-month-old African children. Sera with active complement from 100 unvaccinated blood donors were tested for intrinsic bactericidal activity, SBA titer using rabbit complement (rSBA), and anti-group A PS antibody concentration. Performance criteria and pooling strategies were examined and then verified by comparisons of three independently prepared hC′ lots in two laboratories. hSBA titers of clinical trial sera were then determined using this complement sourcing method. Two different functional antibody tests were necessary for screening hC′. hSBA titers determined using three independent lots of pooled hC′ were within expected assay variation among lots and between laboratories. In African toddlers, PsA-TT elicited higher hSBA titers than meningococcal polysaccharide or Hib vaccines. PsA-TT immunization or PS challenge of PsA-TT-primed subjects resulted in vigorous hSBA memory responses, and titers persisted in boosted groups for over a year. Quantifying SBA using pooled hC′ is feasible and showed that PsA-TT was highly immunogenic in African toddlers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-761
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

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