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.

BACKGROUND: Severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease occurs predominantly in children under 6 months of age. There is no licensed RSV vaccine. Protection of young infants could be achieved by a maternal vaccine to boost titres of passively transferred protective antibodies. Data on the level and kinetics of functional RSV-specific antibody at birth and over the early infant period would inform vaccine product design. METHODS: From a birth cohort study (2002-2007) in Kilifi, Kenya, 100 participants were randomly selected for whom cord blood and 2 subsequent 3-monthly blood samples within the first year of life, were available. RSV antibodies against the A2 strain of RSV were assayed and recorded as the logarithm (base 2) plaque reduction neutralisation test (PRNT) titre. Analysis by linear regression accounted for within-person clustering. RESULTS: The geometric mean neutralisation antibody titre was 10.6 (SD: 1.13) at birth with a log-linear decay over the first 6 months of life. The estimated rate of decay was -0.58 (SD: 0.20) log2PRNT titre per month and a half-life of 36 days. There was no significant interaction between cord titre and rate of decay with age. Mean cord titres rose and fell in a pattern temporally tracking community virus transmission. CONCLUSIONS: In this study population, RSV neutralising antibody titres decay approximately two-fold every one month. The rate of decay varies widely by individual but is not related to titre at birth. RSV specific cord titres vary seasonally, presumably due to maternal boosting.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1797 - 1801


Birth cohort, Maternal antibody, Neutralisation, Rate of decay, Respiratory syncytial virus, Vaccine design, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Antibodies, Viral, Cohort Studies, Female, Fetal Blood, Half-Life, Humans, Immunity, Maternally-Acquired, Infant, Kenya, Neutralization Tests, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human, Seasons, Time Factors