Vaccines will prevent an estimated 23.3 million deaths between 2011 and 2020, but not everyone develops similar persistence of immunity to the same vaccine. A genome-wide study, headed by a team at the University of Oxford, U.K., and involving thousands of children in the U.K. and the Netherlands, has now linked a number of genetic variations with the level of protective antibodies generated following routine childhood immunizations. The scientists say that with further research it may be feasible to incorporate genetic tests into neonatal screening programs that can predict immunity to vaccines, and so guide personalized vaccination regimens.

“This study is the first to use a genome-wide genotyping approach, assessing several million genetic variants, to investigate the genetic determinants of immune responses to three routine childhood vaccines,” said Daniel O’Connor, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the department of pediatrics, University of Oxford, who is first author of the team’s published paper in Cell Reports. “While this study is a good start, it also clearly demonstrates that more work is needed to fully describe the complex genetics involved in vaccine responses, and to achieve this aim we will need to study many more individuals.” The team’s paper is titled, ” Common Genetic Variations Associated with the Persistence of Immunity following Childhood Immunization.”

Vaccines have “revolutionized public health,” and prevented millions of deaths every year, particularly in children, the authors noted. However, continued protection against the pathogen after vaccination depends on the body’s ability to maintain antibody levels. For some vaccines antibody levels decline quite quickly after immunization during infancy, and so boosters are required during childhood. There is also significant variation in both the magnitude and persistence of vaccine-induced immunity between different people.

“Evoking robust and sustained vaccine-induced immunity from early life is a crucial component of global health initiatives to combat the burden of infectious disease,” O’Connor noted. “The mechanisms underlying the persistence of antibody is of major interest, since effectiveness and acceptability of vaccines would be improved if protection were sustained after infant immunization without the need for repeated boosting through childhood.”

Vaccine response and antibody persistence after vaccination are affected by a range of factors, including age, sex, ethnicity, infectious disease, and nutrition. Twin studies have also shown that vaccine-induced immunity is partly heritable. For their reported study the University of Oxford researchers and their colleagues carried out a two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) involving 3,602 children in the U.K. and the Netherlands, to investigate the link between genetic variation and levels of immunity to three routine childhood vaccinations: capsular group C meningococcal (MenC), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccines. MenC protects against the pathogen Neisseria meningitides, which is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, and is estimated to cause more than 500,000 serious infections and 50,000 deaths every year. The Haemophilus influenzae type b pathogen is estimated to cause in excess of eight million serious infections every year, and result in more than 150,000 deaths. The tetanus toxoid vaccine protects against the bacterium Clostridium tetani. WHO estimates …read more

Source:: Daily times


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Genetic Makeup Influences Immunity to Childhood Vaccines

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