Women Who Received Varicella Vaccine Versus Natural Infection Have Different Long-Term T Cell Immunity but Similar Antibody Levels

Ellen Tourtelot, Vaccine (2020) - PMID: 31959424

Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools



Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection during pregnancy is associated with serious fetal anomalies. The live-attenuated VZV vaccine was approved in 1995, so many vaccinated women are now of childbearing age. The question of long-term immunity to varicella is critical because breakthrough chickenpox can occur after vaccination.


To compare humoral and T cell immunity between women of childbearing age who were immunized by vaccination or chickenpox disease.


Non-pregnant females between 18 and 36 years old with a history of VZV immunization (n = 20) or prior chickenpox disease (n = 20) were recruited. IgG antibody titers and T cell responses were measured by flow cytometry-based methods in serum and peripheral blood, respectively.


There were no significant differences in median antibody titers between vaccinated and chickenpox groups (p = 0.34). The chickenpox group had significantly higher levels of VZV antigen-specific CD4 T cells (p = 0.004).


Natural infection induced higher VZV-specific T cell immune responses than vaccination.

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