Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology; Department of Paediatrics; Faculty of Medicine; Chulalongkorn University; Bangkok, Thailand.
Hepatitis B vaccine has been available worldwide since the mid-1980s. This vaccine was evaluated in a clinical trial in Thailand, conducted on subjects born to hepatitis B surface antigen positive and hepatitis B e-antigen positive mothers and vaccinated according to a 4-dose schedule at 0, 1, 2 and 12 mo of age and a single dose of hepatitis B immunoglobulin concomitantly at birth. All enrolled subjects seroconverted and were followed for 20 y to assess the persistence of antibody to the hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) (NCT00240539). At year 20, 64% of subjects had anti-HBs antibody concentrations ≥ 10 milli-international units per milli liter (mIU/ml) and 92% of subjects had detectable levels (≥ 3.3 mIU/ml) of anti-HBs antibodies. At year 20, subjects with anti-HBs antibody titer < 100 mIU/ml were offered an additional dose of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine to assess immune memory (NCT00657657). Anamnestic response to the challenge dose was observed in 96.6% of subjects with an 82-fold (13.2 to 1082.4 mIU/ml) increase in anti-HBs antibody geometric mean concentrations. This study confirms the long-term immunogenicity of the 4r-dose regimen of the HBV vaccine eliciting long-term persistence of antibodies and immune memory against hepatitis B for up to at least 20 y after vaccination.