Combined hepatitis A/B vaccine provides long-term immunity


WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – A combined vaccine against hepatitis A (HAV) and hepatitis B (HBV) elicits long-term antibody persistence in adults and children, according to a report in the September Journal of Medical Virology.

Long-term antibody persistence data following vaccination with TWINRIX Adult–the SmithKline Beecham-produced combined vaccine used in the study–are now available, Dr. Pierre Van Damme from the University of Antwerp in Belgium told Reuters Health. "The combined vaccine is very safe, and very immunogenic," he said.

Dr. Van Damme and colleagues report followup data from two pediatric cohorts followed until month 60 after vaccination and two adult cohorts followed until month 72.

At the latest blood sampling, mean anti-HAV titers ranged from 7.3% to 14.8% of their peak value measured at month 7 (immediately after completion of the three-dose primary vaccination), the authors report. At the same sampling, mean anti-HBs titers ranged from 2.5% to 4.9% of their peak values.

Antibody titers showed a two-phase decline pattern, with a characteristic steep decline at month 18, the report indicates. Once the second phase of antibody decline was reached, the researchers note, there was good persistence of antibodies by the majority of individuals in all four cohorts.

No relevant safety issues arose during the followup of these groups, according to the investigators.

"The anti-HBs and anti-HAV antibody titers observed following a primary vaccination course with the combined vaccine are in the range of what is seen following vaccination with the monovalent vaccines," Dr. Van Damme noted.

"Thus," he concluded, "with this combined vaccine, protection against hepatitis A and B is ensured for a long time in a convenient, simple, and straightforward way."

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