Evidence for induction of polysaccharide specific B-cell-memory in the 1st year of life: plain Haemophilus influenzae type b-PRP (Hib) boosters children primed with a tetanus-conjugate Hib-DTPa-HBV combined vaccine

Eur J Pediatr. 1997 Jan;156(1):18-24. doi: 10.1007/s004310050544.


The lack of an adequate immune response to the major polysaccharide of the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) capsule (polyribosyl ribitol phosphate) (PRP) in very young infants (< 18 months) can be overcome by conjugating PRP to a T-cell dependent carrier protein. We studied whether administration of a tetanus-PRP conjugate vaccine reconstituted with a diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-hepatitis B (DTPa-HBV) vaccine as a three dose primary course at 3, 4 and 5 months of age induced PRP-specific immunological memory, by examining the anti-PRP response to a dose of unconjugated PRP given with the DTPa-HBV booster approximately 1 year later. The unconjugated PRP elicited protective anti-PRP antibody levels (> or = 0.15 microgram/ml) in all but 3 of the 369 vaccinees, including 13 infants who failed to demonstrate a measurable immune response after the primary course. In a sub-cohort of 54 subjects all had anti-PRP levels > or = 0.5 microgram/ml within 7-14 days of the booster showing a rapid anamnestic type response. Both primary and booster responses were predominantly IgGl indicating a T-cell dependent response. The DTPa-HBV components elicited protective anti-diphtheria, anti-tetanus and anti-HBs antibody levels in > or = 98.5% of vaccinees, and immune responses to each of the acellular pertussis vaccine components in 92.3%-97.3% of subjects.

Conclusion: The tetanus-PRP conjugate vaccine not only elicited a good primary humoral response, but also induced immunological memory so that the infants were able to mount a large and rapid immune response to subsequent exposure to plain PRP, indicating that protection against circulating wild-type Hib had been generated. Successful induction of immunological memory occurred even when there was no measurable humoral anti-PRP response to the primary course. Tetanus-PRP conjugate vaccine can be used in combination with DTPa-HBV vaccine, when administered separately or as a single injection in the same syringe, in primary immunisation schedules at 3, 4 and 5 months of age.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine
  • Female
  • Haemophilus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Haemophilus Vaccines*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • Vaccines, Combined
  • Vaccines, Conjugate


  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine
  • Haemophilus Vaccines
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • Vaccines, Combined
  • Vaccines, Conjugate