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Paper of the Month August 2015

Modeling the long-term antibody response of a hepatitis E vaccine


Shu Chen, Zi Zhou, Fei-Xue Wei, Shou Jie Huang, Zhong Tan, Ya Fang, Feng-Cai Zhu, Ting Wu, Jun Zhang, Ning-Shao Xia



The first commercialized hepatitis E vaccine, HEV 239, has been shown to be safe and highly immunogenic, the protection as well as the vaccine-induced anti-HEV maintained for at least 4.5 years. However, the longer term persistence of the vaccine-induced anti-HEV responses is unknown.


Two statistical models, the power-law model and the modified power-law model, were applied to predict the long-term antibody response of the HEV 239 vaccine. The models were fit using the anti-HEV IgG data from a modeling subpopulation of 1278 baseline seronegative vaccinees who seroconverted within one month after finishing the whole vaccination course in the phase 3 trial of HEV 239. In addition, antibody data from a validation subpopulation were used to validate the robustness of the derived models.


In the vaccinees without pre-vaccination immunity, the power-law model and the modified power-law model estimated that the median duration of the detectable antibody (≥0.077WU/ml) was 8 years and 13 years, respectively. The power-law model and the modified power-law model estimated that 50% of these vaccinees will maintain detectable levels of anti-HEV IgG for 8 years and >30 years, respectively.


The recombinant hepatitis E vaccine HEV 239 is predicted to provide from 8 years to nearly life-long persistence of anti-HEV IgG above detectable levels. Model predictions are based on conservative mathematical assumptions. (NCT01014845).