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April 22, 1988

Two Superb Vaccines Against Hepatitis B in Mexican Standoff

Author Affiliations

SmithKline Biologicals Rixensart, Belgium

SmithKline Biologicals Rixensart, Belgium

JAMA. 1988;259(16):2402-2403. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720160024018

To the Editor.  —In response to an editorial1 that criticized the choice of 10 μg of yeast-derived hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) as the dose for Recombivax-HB, Drs Gerety and Ellis2 seek to justify the decision to use a lower dose of HBsAg than the 20 μg present in the plasma-derived Heptavax-B vaccine. They minimize the quantitative difference that has been clearly demonstrated3 in the immune response to yeast-derived and plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccines manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme. In support of their argument, Drs Gerety and Ellis make reference to the published abstract4 of a presentation that I made at the recent International Symposium on Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease and state that the "article indicates that therapy with either 10 μg of Recombivax-HB or 20 μg of another yeast-derived vaccine produces comparable antibody response."The fact is, the abstract and my presentation gave