An acellular pertussis vaccine containing agglutinogens 2 and 3, pertussis toxin, and filamentous haemagglutinin was developed by the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research in the UK. 188 infants were entered into a randomised blind trial and received either the acellular or a whole-cell vaccine, combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, in a 3, 5, and 8-10 month schedule. Local reactions were similar in the two groups but significantly fewer infants had systemic symptoms after the acellular vaccine. Mean log-antibody titres to the agglutinogen and toxin components were higher with the acellular than with the whole-cell vaccine. Persistence of antibodies one year after the third dose was also better in the acellular group.
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We thank Mrs C. Andrews and Mr A. ’rhompson who completed the ELISAs, Dr M. Judd (Director of Public Health North Hertfordshire Health Authority), and the study nurses Mrs M. Heath, Mrs M. Hobbs, Mrs L. Joslin, Mrs T. Till, and Mrs M. Wheal. We also thank Mrs K. Harbert who was responsible for study administration and Dr P. Farrington for his help with the statistical analysis. The acellular vaccine was manufactured by the Production Group at CAMR and the whole-cell vaccine was a gift from Wellcome. The study was funded by the Medical Research Council.