Seroprevalence of bactericidal and anti-outer membrane vesicle antibodies to Neisseria meningitidis group B in England

Caroline Trotter*, Jamie Findlow, Paul Balmer, Ann Holland, Rita Barchha, Nick Hamer, Nick Andrews, Elizabeth Miller, Ray Borrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Outer membrane vesicle (OMV) and recombinant protein-based vaccines targeted against multiple strains of group B meningococci are under development. The serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) assay has been designated the surrogate of protection, but the exact cutoff has not been determined. We measured the SBA titers in 2,415 serum samples and the anti-OMV IgG antibody concentrations in 2,672 serum samples representative of the English population to establish a baseline of natural immunity. SBA and anti-OMV IgG antibody titers are high in infants in the first 3 months of life, declining thereafter, presumably as maternal immunity wanes. About 6% of the subjects in the 1- to 11-year-old age group had SBA titers ≥4. During the teenage years, there was a marked increase in the percentage of subjects with SBA titers ≥4, rising to over 50% in 19-year-olds, with about 20% of older adults achieving this titer. The peak in SBA and anti-OMV IgG titers coincided with the peak in meningococcal carriage. Simple mathematical models confirm that the relationship between observed seroprevalence and carriage by age is consistent with carriage inducing SBA and that following an episode of carriage, SBA levels may remain elevated for many months. With the exception of children aged 3 to 11 months, there was no clear relationship between disease incidence and seroprevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-868
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


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