Background: Identifying an immunological correlate of protection for rotavirus vaccines (Rotarix [RV1] and RotaTeq [RV5]) would substantially facilitate testing of interventions for improving efficacy in developing countries and evaluating additional candidate rotavirus vaccines.
Methods: We accessed PubMed and ClinicalTrials.gov to identify immunogenicity and efficacy trials for RV1 and RV5 to correlate anti-rotavirus serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody titers vs efficacy in regions stratified by all-cause under-5 mortality rates (u5MR). We established a cutoff point for IgA geometric mean concentration or titer (GMC) that predicted lower efficacy and calculated pooled vaccine efficacy among countries with high vs low IgA titers.
Findings: We observed an inverse correlation between u5MR and IgA titers for RV1 (r(2) = 0.72; P < .001 and RV5 (r(2) = 0.66; P < .001) and between efficacy and IgA titers for both vaccines (r(2) = 0.56; P = .005). Postimmunization anti-rotavirus IgA GMC <90 were associated with decline in vaccine efficacy. Efficacy during first 2 years of life was significantly lower among countries with IgA GMC < 90 (44%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 30-55) compared to countries with GMC > 90 (85%; 95% CI, 82-88).
Interpretation: We observed a significant correlation between IgA titers and rotavirus vaccine efficacy and hypothesize that a critical level of IgA antibody titer is associated with a sufficient level of sustained protection after rotavirus vaccination.
Keywords: antibody; diarrhea; efficacy; immunity; protection; rotavirus; vaccines.