Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

INTRODUCTION: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the single most important cause of severe respiratory illness in infants. There is no effective vaccine and the only effective treatment available is the monoclonal antibody palivizumab which reduces the risk of severe RSV disease in prematurely born infants. However, palivizumab is too costly to allow for wide implementation and thus treatment is restricted to supportive care. Despite extensive efforts to develop a vaccine, progress has been hindered by the difficulty in measuring and assessing immunological correlates of RSV vaccine efficacy in the presence of high levels of pre-existing RSV antibodies. METHODS: Here we describe a new method for measuring the functional activity of antibodies induced by vaccination distinct from pre-existing antibodies. Antibodies in lymphocyte supernatants (ALS) from the cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of young adults who had recently been vaccinated with a novel RSV candidate vaccine were directly assayed for virus neutralising activity. An ELISA method was used to measure antibodies in nasal and serum samples and then compared with the adapted ALS based method. RESULTS: There was a wide background distribution of RSV-specific antibodies in serum and nasal samples that obscured vaccine-specific responses measured two weeks after vaccination. No RSV-specific antibodies were observed at baseline in ALS samples, but a clear vaccine-specific antibody response was observed in ALS seven days after the administration of each dose of vaccine. These vaccine-specific antibodies in ALS displayed functional activity in vitro, and quantification of this functional activity was unperturbed by pre-existing antibodies from natural exposure. The results demonstrate a promising new approach for assessing functional immune responses attributed to RSV vaccines.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





6988 - 6994


Antibodies, Antibodies in lymphocyte supernatant, Plasmablasts, Respiratory syncytial virus, Adolescent, Adult, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Antibodies, Viral, Cells, Cultured, Culture Media, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Female, Humans, Lymphocytes, Male, Middle Aged, Nasal Mucosa, Neutralization Tests, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human, Serum, Young Adult