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Special Communication
December 21, 2005

Immunological Memory: The Role of B Cells in Long-term Protection Against Invasive Bacterial Pathogens

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: University of Oxford Department of Paediatrics, Oxford, England.

JAMA. 2005;294(23):3019-3023. doi:10.1001/jama.294.23.3019

Protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines that protect against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis, and multiple capsular serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae have had a major impact on invasive bacterial disease in childhood when incorporated into routine infant immunization schedules. However, effectiveness data from the United Kingdom suggest that primary infant immunization alone may not be associated with long-term protection. Both immunological priming and antibody persistence are important aspects of long-term protection induced by these vaccines. An improved understanding of the immunobiology of the B-cell response to these vaccines may direct development of immunization strategies that provide sustained protection.