Persisting Antibody Response 9 Years After Bivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination in a Cohort of Dutch Women: Immune Response and the Relation to Genital HPV Infections

Joske Hoes, Hella Pasmans, Mirjam J. Knol, Robine Donken, Naomi van Marm-Wattimena, Rutger M. Schepp, Audrey J. King, Fiona R.M. van der Klis, Hester E. de Melker

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The bivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is highly effective and induces robust serological responses. Using a Dutch prospective cohort initiated in 2009, including 744 vaccinated and 294 unvaccinated girls (1993-1994) who provide a vaginal self-swab sample, serum sample, and questionnaire yearly, we report a high, persisting antibody response up to 9 years after vaccination for vaccine types HPV-16 or HPV-18. Antibodies against nonvaccine HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 were lower but still significantly higher than in unvaccinated individuals. This was also reflected in the seroprevalence. We compared participant characteristics and antibody levels between vaccinated women with and those without HPV infections 1 year before infection (204 incident and 64 persistent infections), but we observed no consistent difference in type-specific antibody levels. Having a high-risk HPV infection was associated with sexual risk behavior and smoking 1 year before infection. Although high antibody levels are necessary for protection, our study suggests that on the individual level other factors such as HPV exposure or antibody avidity could be important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1894
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of infectious diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2020

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