Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Anti-pneumococcal antibody titre measurement: what useful information does it yield?
  1. Paul Balmer1,
  2. Andrew J Cant2,
  3. Ray Borrow1
  1. 1Vaccine Evaluation Unit, Health Protection Agency North West, Manchester Laboratory, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Immunology, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr R Borrow
    Vaccine Evaluation Unit, Health Protection Agency North West, Manchester Laboratory, Clinical Sciences Building, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester M13 9WZ, UK;ray.borrow{at}


Measuring and interpretation of the immune response to pneumococcal polysaccharides is a complex field, owing to the diversity of the pneumococcal polysaccharide capsular types, different vaccine formulations including both polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines, diverse pneumococcal serological assays, lack of immunogenicity data for the conjugate in a number of at-risk groups and complex vaccine schedules. Even the reasons for performing pneumococcal serology can be complex, as assays may be performed for one of two reasons: either to assess an individual’s immune status to the pneumococcus or to discriminate between normal and abnormal humoral immunity. This review details a history of the pneumococcal serological assays and provides some insight into when serology can prove useful, including vaccination data for certain at-risk groups.

  • CP, C-polysaccharide
  • HAART, highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • IPD, invasive pneumococcal disease
  • RIA, radioimmunoassay
  • PPV, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine
  • 7vPCV, 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • 23vPPV, 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Published Online First 1 September 2006

  • Competing interests: PB and RB have received financial assistance to attend scientific meetings from pharmaceutical companies including Wyeth Vaccines, Baxter Biosciences, and Novartis. RB has served as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, Fujisawa GmbH, Sanofi Pasteur and Baxter Bioscience. RB has performed contract research on behalf of the Health Protection Agency (funded by Wyeth Vaccines, Chiron Vaccines, Baxter Bioscience, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Pasteur, Fujisawa GmbH, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Microscience and Xenova Research). AJC has no conflicts of interest to declare.