Serum bactericidal activity correlates with the vaccine efficacy of outer membrane vesicle vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B disease

Vaccine. 2003 Jan 30;21(7-8):734-7. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(02)00591-1.


For evaluation of serum bactericidal activity (SBA) as surrogate for the efficacy of outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B disease, we have reanalyzed data from a randomized double blind placebo-controlled efficacy trial involving 172000 secondary school students (aged 13-14 years) in Norway (1988-1991). A cohort of the efficacy trial consisting of 880 individuals was selected for immunogenicity studies. An efficacy of 87% was calculated for a 10-month observation period. However, after an observation period of 29 months, the estimated efficacy against group B disease induced by vaccination was 57%. The immunogenicity study showed that the SBA geometric mean titer (GMT) for the vaccinees was 2.4 before vaccination and 19.0 six weeks after the second vaccine dose. One year after vaccination the GMT was reduced to 2.8. A separate three-dose study with 304 adolescents showed that with a third dose at 10 months after the second dose (i.e. when cases of disease started to appear) a strong booster response was induced. Ten months after the second dose the SBA was reduced to near pre-immunization level. Following the third dose the SBA geometric mean titer of 2.7 increased to 62.3. One year after the third dose, the GMT was markedly higher than 6 weeks after the second dose (12.6 versus 8.8). Thus, protection after vaccination corresponds with the level of SBA. In order to reach lasting protective levels of SBA in a population, three vaccine doses are probably required. Measurements of SBA are likely to be useful for evaluating various upcoming formulations and improvements of immunization regimens for OMV vaccines.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / immunology
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / prevention & control
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / immunology*
  • Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup B / immunology*
  • Serum Bactericidal Test
  • Time Factors
  • Vaccination


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Meningococcal Vaccines