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1.  In vitro and in vivo comparison of transport media for detecting nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae 
PeerJ  2016;4:e2449.
As a standard method for pneumococcal carriage studies, the World Health Organization recommends nasopharyngeal swabs be transported and stored at cool temperatures in a medium containing skim-milk, tryptone, glucose and glycerol (STGG). An enrichment broth used for transport at room temperature in three carriage studies performed in Norway may have a higher sensitivity than STGG. We therefore compared the media in vitro and in vivo.
For the in vitro component, three strains (serotype 4, 19F and 3) were suspended in STGG and enrichment broth. Recovery was compared using latex agglutination, quantification of bacterial loads by real-time PCR of the lytA gene, and counting colonies from incubated plates. For the in vivo comparison, paired swabs were obtained from 100 children and transported in STGG at cool temperatures or in enrichment broth at room temperature. Carriage was identified by latex agglutination and confirmed by Quellung reaction.
In vitro, the cycle threshold values obtained by PCR did not differ between the two media (p = 0.853) and no clear difference in colony counts was apparent after incubation (p = 0.593). In vivo, pneumococci were recovered in 46% of swabs transported in STGG and 51% of those transported in enrichment broth (Kappa statistic 0.90, p = 0.063).
Overall, no statistical differences in sensitivity were found between STGG and enrichment broth. Nevertheless, some serotype differences were observed and STGG appeared slightly less sensitive than enrichment broth for detection of nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococci by culturing. We recommend the continued use of STGG for transport and storage of nasopharyngeal swabs in pneumococcal carriage studies for the benefit of comparability between studies and settings, including more resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC5036082  PMID: 27688966
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Nasopharyngeal carriage; Transport media; In vivo and in vitro comparison; Carriage study; Pneumococcus
2.  Are the current notification criteria for Lyme borreliosis in Norway suitable? Results of an evaluation of Lyme borreliosis surveillance in Norway, 1995–2013 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:729.
The approach to surveillance of Lyme borreliosis varies between countries, depending on the purpose of the surveillance system and the notification criteria used, which prevents direct comparison of national data. In Norway, Lyme borreliosis is notifiable to the Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS). The current notification criteria include a combination of clinical and laboratory results for borrelia infection (excluding Erythema migrans) but there are indications that these criteria are not followed consistently by clinicians and by laboratories. Therefore, an evaluation of Lyme borreliosis surveillance in Norway was conducted to describe the purpose of the system and to assess the suitability of the current notification criteria in order to identify areas for improvement.
The CDC Guidelines for Evaluation of Surveillance Systems were used to develop the assessment of the data quality, representativeness and acceptability of MSIS for surveillance of Lyme borreliosis. Data quality was assessed through a review of data from 1996 to 2013 in MSIS and a linkage of MSIS data from 2008 to 2012 with data from the Norwegian Patient Registry (NPR). Representativeness and acceptability were assessed through a survey sent to 23 diagnostic laboratories.
Completeness of key variables for cases reported to MSIS was high, except for geographical location of exposureThe NPR-MSIS linkage identified 1047 cases in both registries, while 363 were only reported to MSIS and 3914 were only recorded in NPR. A higher proportion of cases found in both registries were recorded as neuroborreliosis in MSIS (84.4 %) than those cases found only in MSIS (20.1 %). The trend (average yearly increase or decrease in reported cases) of neuroborreliosis in MSIS was not significantly different from the trend for all other clinical manifestations recorded in MSIS in negative binomial regression (p = 0.3). The 16 surveyed laboratories (response proportion 70 %) indicated differences in testing practices and low acceptability of the notification criteria.
Given the challenges associated with diagnosing Lyme borreliosis, the selected notification criteria should be closely linked with the purpose of the surveillance system. Restricting reportable Lyme borreliosis to neuroborreliosis may increase validity, while a more sensitive case definition (potentially including erythema migrans) may better reflect the true burden of disease. We recommend revising the current notification criteria in Norway to ensure that they are unambiguous for clinicians and laboratories.
PMCID: PMC4974730  PMID: 27495236
Public health surveillance; Lyme disease; Borrelia burgdorferi
3.  Tetanus after a minor injury leading to death in a previously non-immunized, elderly, Norwegian woman 
Idcases  2015;2(2):53-55.
Tetanus vaccination is part of the Norwegian childhood vaccination program. An elderly woman injured her arm and leg after a minor fall on her outdoor stairs. Two weeks later she presented with trismus. This developed into tetanic spasms, obstructed airways and the need for a tracheostomy. She died 14 days later due to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. ELISA for tetanus toxoid IgG was negative, probably because the patient was born before the introduction of tetanus vaccination in the Norwegian childhood vaccination program. Lack of adherence to the vaccination programs should be considered in patients presenting with symptoms resembling diseases they normally would be protected from. Although the patient presented with typical symptoms the diagnosis was not suspected initially, probably due to the rareness of this disease in Norway.
PMCID: PMC4672617  PMID: 26793455
Tetanus; Vaccination; Minor wounds; Locked jaw; Norway
4.  Characterization of the extent of a large outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease by serological assays 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:163.
In May 2005, a long-distance outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) caused by Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 occurred in south-east Norway. The initial outbreak investigation without serology identified 56 laboratory-confirmed LD cases of whom 10 died. However, 116 patients with community-acquired pneumonia might belong to the outbreak based on epidemiological investigations, but acute laboratory tests other than serology were negative or not performed. To assess the true extent of the outbreak, we evaluated two serological assays in order to reclassify the 116 patients with indeterminate case status.
Two polyvalent antibody tests, a serogroup 1–6 immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and a serogroup 1–7 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used. They were evaluated with cases defined as culture- or urinary antigen positive LD patients (n = 40) and non-cases defined as confirmed non-LD patients (n = 39) and healthy control subjects (n = 62). The 116 patients, who were negative in culture, polymerase chain reaction and/or urinary antigen tests, were analysed by the same serological assays. Antibodies to the outbreak strain were determined by immunoblotting.
In the evaluation study, the sensitivity and specificity of a ≥4-fold IFA titre change was 38% and 100%, respectively, with corresponding values of 30% and 99% for seroconversion in ELISA. A single high positive IFA titre yielded sensitivity and specificity of 73% and 97%, respectively, with corresponding values of 68% and 96% for a single high immunoglobulin (Ig) G and/or IgM in ELISA.
Based on this evaluation, the following serological testing identified 47 more LD cases, and the outbreak thus comprised 103 cases with a case fatality rate of 10%. About the same proportion (70%) of the urinary antigen positive and negative LD cases had antibodies to the serogroup-specific lipopolysaccharide of the outbreak strain. In addition to the 103 LD cases, Legionella infection could not be verified or excluded in 32 patients based on epidemiology and/or lack of microbiological sampling.
The acute-phase tests (culture, polymerase chain reaction, and urinary antigen) identified less than 55% of the 103 patients in this outbreak. Serological testing thus remains an important supplement for diagnosis of LD and for determination of outbreak cases.
PMCID: PMC4383209  PMID: 25887275
Legionella pneumophila; Outbreak; Serological assays; Community-acquired pneumonia
5.  Decline in Early Childhood Respiratory Tract Infections in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study after Introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination 
The seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced into the Norwegian Childhood Immunization Program in 2006. A substantial effectiveness of PCV7 immunization against invasive pneumococcal disease has been demonstrated, while evidence of the impact on respiratory tract infections are less consistent.
This study included children participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, which recruited pregnant women between 1999 and 2008. Maternal report of acute otitis media (AOM), lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and asthma in the child was compared with PCV7 immunization status, as obtained from the Norwegian Immunization Registry. Generalized linear models with the log link function were used to report adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
For children who had received three or more PCV7 immunizations by 12 months of age, the adjusted relative risks of AOM and LRTIs between 12 and 18 months were 0.86 [95% CI: 0.81, 0.91] and 0.78 [95% CI: 0.70, 0.87] respectively, when compared with non-immunized children. A reduced risk of AOM, RR 0.92 [95% CI: 0.90, 0.94], and LRTIs, RR 0.75 [95%CI: 0.71, 0.80], between 18 and 36 months of age was also identified among children who had received 3 or more immunizations by 18 months. No association was seen between PCV7 immunization and asthma at 36 months of age.
Reduced incidence proportions of AOM and LRTIs before 36 months of age were observed among children immunized with PCV7 through the childhood immunization program.
PMCID: PMC3421039  PMID: 22627867
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccination; lower respiratory tract infections; acute otitis media; asthma
6.  Vaccines against meningococcal serogroup B disease containing outer membrane vesicles (OMV) 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(6):1241-1253.
The utility of wild-type outer membrane vesicle (wtOMV) vaccines against serogroup B (MenB) meningococcal disease has been explored since the 1970s. Public health interventions in Cuba, Norway and New Zealand have demonstrated that these protein-based vaccines can prevent MenB disease. Data from large clinical studies and retrospective statistical analyses in New Zealand give effectiveness estimates of at least 70%. A consistent pattern of moderately reactogenic and safe vaccines has been seen with the use of approximately 60 million doses of three different wtOMV vaccine formulations. The key limitation of conventional wtOMV vaccines is their lack of broad protective activity against the large diversity of MenB strains circulating globally. The public health intervention in New Zealand (between 2004–2008) when MeNZB was used to control a clonal MenB epidemic, provided a number of new insights regarding international and public-private collaboration, vaccine safety surveillance, vaccine effectiveness estimates and communication to the public. The experience with wtOMV vaccines also provide important information for the next generation of MenB vaccines designed to give more comprehensive protection against multiple strains.
PMCID: PMC3901813  PMID: 23857274
Neisseria meningitidis; New Zealand MenB outbreak; OMV vaccines; controlling MenB epidemics; meningococcal disease
7.  Postvaccination Increase in Serotype 19A Pneumococcal Disease in Norway Is Driven by Expansion of Penicillin-Susceptible Strains of the ST199 Complex 
Serotype replacement in invasive pneumococcal disease has been observed after widespread use of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). Replacement is dominated by penicillin-nonsusceptible serotype 19A in several countries. Antibiotic selection pressure has been proposed to interact with immunization, leading to rapid replacement. In Norway, where prescription of antibiotics is limited, post-PCV7 replacement by serotype 19A is dominated by penicillin-susceptible clones. Hence, serotype 19A replacement occurs, although it is not driven by antibiotic selection pressure.
PMCID: PMC3294600  PMID: 22237889
8.  Immunization of Teenagers with a Fifth Dose of Reduced DTaP-IPV Induces High Levels of Pertussis Antibodies with a Significant Increase in Opsonophagocytic Activity▿ 
Waning vaccine-induced immunity against Bordetella pertussis is observed among adolescents and adults. A high incidence of pertussis has been reported in this population, which serves as a reservoir for B. pertussis. A fifth dose of reduced antigen of diphtheria-tetanus-acellular-pertussis and inactivated polio vaccine was given as a booster dose to healthy teenagers. The antibody activity against B. pertussis antigens was measured prior to and 4 to 8 weeks after the booster by different assays: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) of IgG and IgA against pertussis toxin (PT) and filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), IgG against pertactin (PRN), opsonophagocytic activity (OPA), and IgG binding to live B. pertussis. There was a significant increase in the IgG activity against PT, FHA, and PRN following the booster immunization (P < 0.001). The prebooster sera showed a geometric mean OPA titer of 65.1 and IgG binding to live bacteria at a geometric mean concentration of 164.9 arbitrary units (AU)/ml. Following the fifth dose, the OPA increased to a titer of 360.4, and the IgG concentration against live bacteria increased to 833.4 AU/ml (P < 0.001 for both). The correlation analyses between the different assays suggest that antibodies against FHA and PRN contribute the most to the OPA and IgG binding.
PMCID: PMC3147361  PMID: 21677109
9.  An Exploratory Trial of Cyclooxygenase Type 2 Inhibitor in HIV-1 Infection: Downregulated Immune Activation and Improved T Cell-Dependent Vaccine Responses▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(13):6557-6566.
Chronic HIV infection is characterized by chronic immune activation and dysfunctional T cells with elevated intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP), which inhibits the T cell activation capability. cAMP may be induced by prostaglandin E2 following lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced upregulation of cyclooxygenase type 2 (COX-2) in monocytes due to the elevated LPS levels in patients with chronic HIV infection. This hypothesis was tested using celecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor, for 12 weeks in HIV-infected patients without antiretroviral treatment in a prospective, open, randomized exploratory trial. Thirty-one patients were randomized in the trial; 27 completed the study, including 13 patients on celecoxib. Celecoxib reduced chronic immune activation in terms of CD38 density on CD8+ T cells (−24%; P = 0.04), IgA levels (P = 0.04), and a combined score for inflammatory markers (P < 0.05). Celecoxib further reduced the inhibitory surface receptor programmed death 1 (PD-1) on CD8+ T cells (P = 0.01), including PD-1 on the HIV Gag-specific subset (P = 0.02), enhanced the number of CD3+ CD4+ CD25+ CD127lo/− Treg or activated cells (P = 0.02), and improved humoral memory recall responses to a T cell-dependent vaccine (P = 0.04). HIV RNA (P = 0.06) and D dimers (P = 0.07) tended to increase in the controls, whereas interleukin-6 (IL-6) possibly decreased in the treatment arm (P = 0.10). In conclusion, celecoxib downmodulated the immune activation related to clinical progression of chronic HIV infection and improved T cell-dependent functions in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3126508  PMID: 21490090
10.  Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Causing Severe Infections in Norway in 2006 to 2007: emm Types, Multilocus Sequence Types, and Superantigen Profiles ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;48(3):842-851.
To investigate the epidemiological patterns and genetic characteristics of disease caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS), all available isolates from invasive cases in Norway during 2006 to 2007 (262 isolates) were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, T serotyping, emm typing, and multilocus sequence typing and screened for known streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin (Spe) genes, smeZ, and ssa. The average incidence rate was 3.1 cases per 100,000 individuals. The most prevalent sequence types (STs) were STs 52, 28, and 334. In association with emm types 28, 77, and 87, the serotype T-28 comprised 24.8% of the strains. emm types 28, 1, and 82 were dominating. In 2007, a sharp increase in the number of emm-6 strains was noted. All strains were sensitive to penicillin and quinupristin-dalfopristin, while 3.4% and 6.1% of the strains were resistant to macrolides and tetracycline, respectively. Furthermore, the emm-6 strains had intermediate susceptibility to ofloxacin. Isolates displayed a wide variety of gene profiles, as shown by the presence or absence of the Spe genes, smeZ, and ssa, but 48% of the isolates fell into one of three profiles. In most cases, an emm type was restricted to one gene profile. Although the incidence decreased during this study, invasive GAS disease still has a high endemic rate, with involvement of both established and emerging emm types displaying variability in virulence gene profiles as well as differences in gender and age group preferences.
PMCID: PMC2832411  PMID: 20042624
11.  Impact of a Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination Program on Carriage among Children in Norway▿  
In July 2006, the seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced in Norway with a reduced (2 doses + 1 boost) dose schedule. Post-PCV7 shifts in pneumococcal reservoirs were assessed by two point prevalence studies of nasopharyngeal colonization among children in day care centers, before (2006) and after (2008) widespread use of PCV7. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from 1,213 children, 611 in 2006 and 602 in 2008. A total of 1,102 pneumococcal isolates were recovered. Serotyping, multilocus sequence typing, and antimicrobial drug susceptibility testing were performed on all isolates. Although carriage of PCV7 serotypes decreased among both vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage remained high (80.4%) after vaccine introduction. The pneumococcal populations were diverse, and in the shift toward non-PCV7 serotypes, expansion of a limited number of established clonal complexes was observed. While non-antimicrobial-susceptible clones persisted among PCV7 serotypes, antimicrobial resistance did not increase among non-PCV7 serotypes. Direct and indirect protection of PCV7 against nasopharyngeal colonization was inferred from an overall decrease in carriage of PCV7 serotypes. No preference was found for nonsusceptible clones among the replacing non-PCV7 serotypes.
PMCID: PMC2837970  PMID: 20107006
12.  Immunogenicity of Fractional Doses of Tetravalent A/C/Y/W135 Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine: Results from a Randomized Non-Inferiority Controlled Trial in Uganda 
Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A is the main causative pathogen of meningitis epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, serogroup W135 has also been the cause of epidemics. Mass vaccination campaigns with polysaccharide vaccines are key elements in controlling these epidemics. Facing global vaccine shortage, we explored the use of fractional doses of a licensed A/C/Y/W135 polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a randomized, non-inferiority trial in 750 healthy volunteers 2–19 years old in Mbarara, Uganda, to compare the immune response of the full dose of the vaccine versus fractional doses (1/5 or 1/10). Safety and tolerability data were collected for all subjects during the 4 weeks following the injection. Pre- and post-vaccination sera were analyzed by measuring serum bactericidal activity (SBA) with baby rabbit complement. A responder was defined as a subject with a ≥4-fold increase in SBA against a target strain from each serogroup and SBA titer ≥128. For serogroup W135, 94% and 97% of the vaccinees in the 1/5- and 1/10-dose arms, respectively, were responders, versus 94% in the full-dose arm; for serogroup A, 92% and 88% were responders, respectively, versus 95%. Non-inferiority was demonstrated between the full dose and both fractional doses in SBA seroresponse against serogroups W135 and Y, in total population analysis. Non-inferiority was shown between the full and 1/5 doses for serogroup A in the population non-immune prior to vaccination. Non-inferiority was not shown for any of the fractionate doses for serogroup C. Safety and tolerability data were favourable, as observed in other studies.
While the advent of conjugate A vaccine is anticipated to largely contribute to control serogroup A outbreaks in Africa, the scale-up of its production will not cover the entire “Meningitis Belt” target population for at least the next 3 to 5 years. In view of the current shortage of meningococcal vaccines for Africa, the use of 1/5 fractional doses should be considered as an alternative in mass vaccination campaigns.
Trial Registration NCT00271479
Author Summary
Meningitis are infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can cause high fever, blood poisoning, and brain damage, as well as result in death in up to 10% of cases. Epidemics of meningitis occur almost every year in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, throughout a high-burden area spanning Senegal to Ethiopia dubbed the “Meningitis Belt.” Most epidemics in Africa are caused by Neisseria meningitidis (mostly serogroup A and W135). Mass vaccination campaigns attempt to control epidemics by administering meningococcal vaccines targeted against these serogroups, among others. However, global shortages of these vaccines are currently seen. We studied the use of fractional (1/5 and 1/10) doses of a licensed vaccine to assess its non-inferiority compared with the normal full dose. In a randomized trial in Uganda, we found that immune response and safety using a 1/5 dose were comparable to full dose for three serogroups (A, Y, W135), though not a fourth (C). In light of current shortages of meningococcal vaccines and their importance in fighting meningitis epidemics around the world, we suggest fractional doses be taken under consideration in mass vaccination campaigns.
PMCID: PMC2584372  PMID: 19048025
13.  Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterization of Streptococcus pneumoniae Strains Colonizing Children Attending Day-Care Centers in Norway▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(8):2508-2518.
A cross-sectional study of nasopharyngeal colonization with Streptococcus pneumoniae was performed among 573 children attending 29 day-care centers (DCCs) in Norway prior to the start of mass vaccination with the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7). A sensitive sampling method was employed, including transport in an enrichment broth and serotyping of pneumococci directly from the broth, in addition to traditional single-colony isolation from blood agar plates. The prevalence of carriage was high, peaking at 88.7% in 2-year-olds. More than one serotype was isolated from 12.7% of the carriers. Of 509 isolates obtained, 227 (44.6%) belonged to the PCV-7 serotypes. Penicillin nonsusceptibility was rare (1.8% of the isolates). Nonsusceptibility to erythromycin (5.9%), clindamycin (2.0%), and tetracycline (5.5%) was associated with PCV-7 serotypes (P < 0.001). Multilocus sequence typing was performed on the whole strain collection, revealing 102 sequence types (STs), of which 31 (30.4%) were novel. Eleven isolates (2.2%) belonged to the England14-9 clone, and 19 isolates (3.7%) belonged to, or were single-locus variants of, the Portugal19F-21 clone. The pneumococcal populations within the DCCs were composed of a majority of isolates with STs shared between the DCCs and a minority of isolates with STs unique for each DCC. The highest numbers of different STs, including novel STs, were found within the most frequent serotypes. Our study indicates that carriage of S. pneumoniae is highly prevalent among children in Norwegian DCCs, with a genetically diverse pneumococcal population consisting of unique microepidemic DCC populations.
PMCID: PMC2519506  PMID: 18524970
14.  Sequence Type and emm Type Diversity in Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Causing Invasive Disease in Norway between 1988 and 2003 ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(6):2102-2105.
The incidence of invasive group A streptococcal disease has increased in Norway since the 1980s. Analysis of 100 isolates recovered from 1988 to 2003 showed an increased genotypic diversity over time, while the prevalence of the strain that dominated in 1988, sequence type (ST)-28/emm-1, decreased. Necrotizing fasciitis was often associated with ST-15/emm-3.
PMCID: PMC2446838  PMID: 18417661
15.  Immunogenicity, Reactogenicity, and Safety of a P1.7b,4 Strain-Specific Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine Given to Preteens▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2007;14(11):1393-1399.
New Zealand (NZ) has experienced a Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B epidemic since 1991. MeNZB, a strain-specific outer membrane vesicle vaccine made using an NZ epidemic strain isolate, NZ98/254 (B:4:P1.7b,4), from two manufacturing sites, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and Chiron Vaccines (CV; now Novartis), was evaluated for safety, immunogenicity, and reactogenicity in this observer-blind trial with 8- to 12-year-old children. In year 1, cohort A (n = 302) was randomized 4:1 for receipt of NIPH-MeNZB or MenBvac (Norwegian parent vaccine strain 44/76; B:15:P1.7,16). In year 2, cohort B (n = 313) was randomized 4:1 for receipt of CV-MeNZB or NIPH-MeNZB. Participants all received three vaccinations 6 weeks apart. Local and systemic reactions were monitored for 7 days. Seroresponse was defined as a fourfold or greater rise in the serum bactericidal antibody titer from the baseline titer as measured by a serum bactericidal assay. Those with baseline titers of <1:4 required titers of ≥1:8 to serorespond. Intention-to-treat (ITT) and per protocol (PP) analyses are presented. In cohort A, 74% (ITT) and 73% (PP) of NIPH-MeNZB recipients demonstrated seroresponses against NZ98/254 after three doses, versus 32% (ITT and PP) of MenBvac recipients. In cohort B, seroresponses against NZ98/254 after three doses occurred in 79% (ITT and PP) of CV-MeNZB versus 75% (ITT) and 76% (PP) of NIPH-MeNZB recipients. Vaccines were tolerable, with no vaccine-related serious adverse events. In conclusion, the NZ strain meningococcal B vaccine (MeNZB) from either manufacturing site was immunogenic against New Zealand epidemic vaccine strain meningococci with no safety concerns when given in three doses to these 8- to 12-year-old children.
PMCID: PMC2168176  PMID: 17898183
16.  Immunogenicity and Safety of a Combination of Two Serogroup B Meningococcal Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccines▿  
MenBvac and MeNZB are safe and efficacious vaccines against serogroup B meningococcal disease. MenBvac is prepared from a B:15:P1.7,16 meningococcal strain (strain 44/76), and MeNZB is prepared from a B:4:P1.7-2,4 strain (strain NZ98/254). At 6-week intervals, healthy adults received three doses of MenBvac (25 μg), MeNZB (25 μg), or the MenBvac and MeNZB (doses of 12.5 μg of each vaccine) vaccines combined, followed by a booster 1 year later. Two-thirds of the subjects who received a monovalent vaccine in the primary schedule received the other monovalent vaccine as a booster dose. The immune responses to the combined vaccine were of the same magnitude as the homologous responses to each individual vaccine observed. At 6 weeks after the third dose, 77% and 87% of the subjects in the combined vaccine group achieved serum bactericidal titers of ≥4 against strains 44/76 and NZ98/254, respectively, and 97% and 93% of the subjects achieved a fourfold or greater increase in opsonophagocytic activity against strains 44/76 and NZ98/254, respectively. For both strains, a trend of higher responses after the booster dose was observed in all groups receiving at least one dose of the respective strain-specific vaccine. Local and systemic reactions were common in all vaccine groups. Most reactions were mild or moderate in intensity, and there were no vaccine-related serious adverse events. The safety profile of the combined vaccine was not different from those of the separate monovalent vaccines. In conclusion, use of either of the single vaccines or the combination of MenBvac and MeNZB may have a considerable impact on the serogroup B meningococcal disease situation in many countries.
PMCID: PMC2043307  PMID: 17634513
17.  Opsonophagocytic Activity and Other Serological Indications of Bordetella pertussis Infection in Military Recruits in Norway▿  
Bordetella pertussis is the causative agent of pertussis (whooping cough). Despite high vaccination coverage, pertussis remains a significant disease in many countries. Besides vaccination, transient carriage of Bordetella spp. or other cross-reacting organisms adds to the immunity against pertussis. However, the various immunological mechanisms conferring protection remain largely unknown. In this study, paired serum samples from 464 healthy Norwegian military recruits were collected, the first at enrolment and the second about 8 months later. The prevalence of pertussis during military service was examined by comparing the paired serum samples for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against pertussis toxin (PT) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Seventy-eight percent of the recruits had low levels of IgG antibodies against PT in both samples. Conversely, 8.4% of the recruits demonstrated high anti-PT IgG levels in the first sample, indicative of recent pertussis prior to enrolment. One recruit experienced seroconversion, indicating pertussis during service. A subset of 248 serum samples with low, medium, and high anti-PT IgG titers were analyzed by a different ELISA kit for IgG and IgA antibodies against PT and filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA) and for opsonophagocytic activity (OPA), for induction of C3b deposition products, and for IgG binding with live B. pertussis as the antigen. We observed high correlations between OPA and IgG against live bacteria (r = 0.83), between OPA and IgG anti-FHA (r = 0.79), between OPA and anti-PT IgG (r = 0.68), and between OPA and C3b binding (r = 0.70) (P < 0.0001 for all). Anti-PT IgA did not correlate closely with the other assays.
PMCID: PMC1951054  PMID: 17507542
18.  Persisting Immune Responses Indicating Long-Term Protection after Booster Dose with Meningococcal Group B Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(7):790-796.
MenBvac is an outer membrane vesicle vaccine against systemic meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis. In this placebo-controlled double-blind study including 374 healthy adolescents, the safety and immunogenicity of a schedule of three primary doses 6 weeks apart followed by a fourth dose a year later were evaluated. Antibody responses to the vaccine strain and heterologous strains (non-vaccine-type strains) and the persistence of these antibodies were measured by the serum bactericidal assay (SBA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay up to 1 year after the last dose. The proportion of subjects with SBA titers of ≥4 against the vaccine strain increased from 3% prevaccination to 65% after the third dose. Ten months later, this proportion had declined to 28%. The fourth dose induced a booster response demonstrated by 93% of subjects achieving a titer of ≥4. One year after the booster dose, 64% still showed SBA titers of ≥4. Cross-reacting antibodies were induced against all heterologous strains tested, although the magnitude of SBA titers differed widely between the different strains. All four doses of MenBvac were safe. Both MenBvac and the placebo had reactogenicity profiles of mild to moderate local and systemic reactions. Pain, the most common reaction, was reported with similar frequencies in both groups. No serious adverse events occurred in the MenBvac group. This study confirmed the good immunogenicity of the primary course of MenBvac and demonstrated prolonged persistence and increased cross-reactivity of functional antibodies elicited by a booster dose.
PMCID: PMC1489568  PMID: 16829617
19.  Interlaboratory Standardization of the Measurement of Serum Bactericidal Activity by Using Human Complement against Meningococcal Serogroup B, Strain 44/76-SL, before and after Vaccination with the Norwegian MenBvac Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine 
There is currently no standardized serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) assay for evaluating immune responses to meningococcal outer membrane vesicle or protein vaccines. Four laboratories, Manchester Health Protection Agency (MC HPA), New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (NZ ESR), Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), and Chiron Vaccines (Chiron), measured SBA titers in the same panel of human sera (n = 76) from laboratory staff (n = 21) vaccinated with MenBvac. Blood samples were collected prevaccination, prior to each of the three doses of MenBvac given at 6-week intervals, and 6 weeks following the third dose. Initial results showed a number of discrepancies in results between the four participating laboratories. The greatest effect on titers appeared to be due to differences among laboratories in the maintenance of the meningococcal serogroup B test strain, 44/76-SL. A repeat study was conducted using the same frozen isolate (meningococcal serogroup B test strain 44/76-SL), freshly distributed to all four laboratories. Using SBA titers from the tilt method for all samples, and using MC HPA as the comparator, the results were as follows for NZ ESR, NIPH, and Chiron, respectively, using log10 titers: correlation coefficients (r) were 0.966, 0.967, and 0.936; intercepts were 0.08, 0.15, and 0.17; and slopes were 0.930, 0.851, and 0.891. In both prevaccination and postvaccination samples from 15 subjects assayed by all four laboratories, similar increases in SBA (fourfold or greater) were observed (for 11, 11, 9, and 9 subjects for MC HPA, NZ ESR, NIPH, and Chiron, respectively), and similar percentages of subjects with SBA titers of ≥4 prevaccination and 6 weeks following each dose were found. The SBA assay has been harmonized between the four different laboratories with good agreement on seroconversion rates, n-fold changes in titers, and percentages of subjects with SBA titers of ≥4.
PMCID: PMC1182195  PMID: 16085915
20.  Combined Administration of Meningococcal Serogroup B Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine and Conjugated Serogroup C Vaccine Indicated for Prevention of Meningococcal Disease Is Safe and Immunogenic 
MenBvac and Menjugate are safe and efficacious vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate safety and immunogenicity of the combination (MenB/C) of the lyophilized active components of the conjugated group C vaccine Menjugate when reconstituted with the full liquid group B outer membrane vesicle vaccine MenBvac compared to MenBvac and Menjugate given separately. At 6-week intervals, healthy adults were given one dose of MenB/C followed by two doses of MenBvac (MenB/C group), three doses of MenBvac (MenB group), or one dose of Menjugate and two doses of placebo (MenC group). Injection site reactions were frequent in all groups. However, most reactions were short lasting and mild or moderate in intensity, and the vaccines were found to be well tolerated, with no vaccine-related serious adverse events. MenB/C was immunogenic with regard to both serogroup B and C meningococci. Both the serum bactericidal assay and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analyses showed that the immune responses of the combination vaccine were similar to the immune responses of its separate components MenBvac and Menjugate for both serogroup B and C. In conclusion, the combined MenB/C vaccine is safe and immunogenic. The two vaccines do not interact negatively with each other and can easily be administered in the same syringe. The induced immune responses suggest that the combined vaccine is likely to confer protection against systemic group B disease caused by the vaccine strain as well as against group C meningococcal disease.
PMCID: PMC1112071  PMID: 15879021
21.  Influence of Intravenous Anesthesia on Mucosal and Systemic Antibody Responses to Nasal Vaccines  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(10):5479-5484.
Inhalation of antigens may stimulate the immune system by way of the upper as well as the lower airways. We have shown that at least 1,000 times more live pneumococci were recovered from pulmonary tissue after being presented as drops of a liquid suspension onto the nares of anesthetized mice compared to the number of bacteria recovered from animals that were not anesthetized in the course of the challenge. Mice that were similarly immunized intranasally by inhalation of three different nonreplicating particulate vaccine formulations, i.e., a meningococcal outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccine, a formalin-inactivated whole-virus influenza (INV) vaccine, and the INV vaccine with OMVs as a mucosal adjuvant, during general intravenous anesthesia developed concentrations of vaccine-specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies that were four to nine times higher than in mice that were fully awake during immunizations. The concentrations of IgA antibodies in serum were also higher in anesthetized than in nonanesthetized mice and correlated positively with the corresponding levels of serum IgG antibodies in the anesthetized but not in the nonanesthetized mice. In saliva and feces, however, the concentrations of IgA antibodies were equally high whether or not the animals were dormant during immunizations. The results indicate that intrapulmonary antigen presentation, as a part of an intranasal immunization strategy, is of importance for systemic but not for mucosal antibody responses. A major portion of IgA antibodies in serum may thus be derived from nonmucosal sites.
PMCID: PMC128324  PMID: 12228273
22.  Meningococcal Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine Given Intranasally Can Induce Immunological Memory and Booster Responses without Evidence of Tolerance 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(8):5010-5015.
We have studied the ability of outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccines from Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B to induce vaccine-specific antibody and spleen cell proliferative responses in mice after being administered intranasally (i.n.) and/or subcutaneously (s.c.). A series of four weekly i.n. doses (25 μg) without adjuvant or a single s.c. dose (2.5 μg) with aluminum hydroxide was followed 2 months later by secondary i.n. or s.c. immunizations. After i.n. priming, both immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody responses in serum, measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and IgA antibodies in saliva and extracts of feces were significantly boosted by later i.n. immunizations. The IgG antibody responses in serum were also significantly augmented by secondary s.c. immunization after i.n. as well as s.c. priming. Sera from mice immunized i.n. reached the same level of bactericidal activity as after s.c. immunizations. The s.c. immunizations alone, however, had no effect on mucosal IgA antibody responses, but could prime for booster antibody responses in secretions to later i.n. immunizations. The i.n. immunizations also led to marked OMV-specific spleen cell proliferation in vitro. Both serum antibody responses and spleen cell proliferation were higher after i.n. priming and later s.c. immunizations than after s.c. immunizations alone. There was thus no evidence that i.n. priming had induced immunological tolerance within the B- or T-cell system. Our results indicate that a nonproliferating meningococcal OMV vaccine given i.n. can induce immunological memory and that it may be favorably combined with similar vaccines for injections.
PMCID: PMC98594  PMID: 11447180
23.  Intranasal Immunization with Heat-Inactivated Streptococcus pneumoniae Protects Mice against Systemic Pneumococcal Infection 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(9):4320-4325.
In order to study the mucosal and serum antibody response to polysaccharide-encapsulated bacteria in mice, a preparation of heat-inactivated Streptococcus pneumoniae type 4 was administered, with and without cholera toxin, at various mucosal sites. It appeared that intranasal immunization of nonanesthesized animals was superior to either oral, gastric, or colonic-rectal antigen delivery with regard to the induction of serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA, as well as saliva IgA antibodies specific for pneumococci. The marked IgA antibody response in feces after intranasal, but not after oral or gastric, immunization is suggestive of a cellular link between the nasal induction site and the distant mucosal effector sites. Intranasal immunization also induced antibodies in serum and in mucosal secretions against type-specific capsular polysaccharide. IgA and IgG antibody levels in pulmonary lavage fluids correlated well with saliva IgA and serum IgG antibodies, respectively. Antibody determinations in pulmonary secretions may therefore be redundant in some cases, and the number of experimental animals may be reduced accordingly. After intraperitoneal challenge with type 4 pneumococci, mice immunized intranasally were protected against both systemic infection and death, even without the use of cholera toxin as a mucosal adjuvant. Thus, an efficient intranasal vaccine against invasive pneumococcal disease may be based on a very simple formulation with whole killed pneumococci.
PMCID: PMC96747  PMID: 10456869

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