Cross-reaction but no avidity change of the serum antibody response after influenza vaccination

K A Brokstad, R J Cox, D Major, J M Wood, L R Haaheim
Vaccine 1995, 13 (16): 1522-8
Pre- and post-vaccination sera from 19 volunteers were analysed by the haemagglutination inhibition (HI) test, virus neutralization (VN) assay and avidity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The sera were tested against the three strains in a commercial inactivated influenza vaccine; A/Beijing/353/89(H3N2); A/Taiwan/1/86 (H1N1) and B/Yamagata/16/88. Additionally, a range of earlier strains and one newer isolate were assayed for HI- and VN-antibodies. Large variations in the pre-vaccination HI titres were observed for the viruses tested. However, 8-9 days after vaccination HI titres increased to above the assumed protective level (HI > or = 40) in most subjects. Although a limited number of patients were analysed at each sampling point, the time-profile we observed in this study is consistent with data we have obtained in earlier trials (Cox, R.J. et al., Vaccine 1994, 12,993-999). The VN titres, on the other hand, were low against all influenza strains before and up to 6 days, but increased rapidly 8-9 days after vaccination. A recent H3N2 isolate, A/Beijing/32/92 (H3N2), which had drifted further away from the vaccine strain, reacted to low titres or were negative in both the HI and VN assays. No change in the serum avidity to the influenza surface antigens was detected after vaccination, whereas sera from subjects naturally infected with influenza showed an increase in avidity to the infecting virus strain. The increase in serum avidity observed in the infected subjects is probably due to the increased and prolonged antigenic stimulus provided by the replicating virus.

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