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Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine use in adults – Addressing an unmet medical need for non-bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia

Sings, Heather L.
Vaccine 2017 v.35 no.40 pp. 5406-5417
B-lymphocytes, Food and Drug Administration, Streptococcus pneumoniae, T-lymphocytes, antibodies, burden of disease, chemical bonding, elderly, immune response, immunologic memory, pneumonia, polysaccharides, public health, randomized clinical trials, vaccination, vaccines, United States
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a frequent cause of community acquired pneumonia (CAP), with the largest burden of disease attributed to non-bacteremic pneumonia. Due to the high persistent burden of disease, pneumococcal pneumonia, particularly non-bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia, continues to be a major public health concern. There are currently two pneumococcal vaccines approved for use in adults in the United States (US) and other countries worldwide: a 23-valent pneumococcal simple polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23), and a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). The capsular polysaccharides included in PPV23 induce antibodies primarily by a T-cell independent mechanism, thus the immune response is short lived and lacks the ability to elicit an anamnestic response. PCV13, on the other hand, has the bacterial polysaccharides covalently conjugated to an immunogenic carrier protein resulting in the formation of memory B lymphocytes, thus proving long-acting immunologic memory and an anamnestic response. Despite 30years of use, the question of PPV23 vaccine efficacy, particularly with respect to efficacy for non-bacteremic pneumonia, has been extensively debated and investigated; whereas PCV13 efficacy against vaccine-type pneumococcal CAP, both bacteremic and non-bacteremic, was confirmed in a large randomized controlled trial in older adults. PCV13 was approved under the US Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated pathway, which allows for earlier approval of products that provide meaningful benefit over existing treatments – in this case, protection of adults from non-bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia. Its use is now increasingly recommended globally. This article summarizes the history and use of PPV23 and PCV13 in adults and how vaccination of adults with PCV13 addresses an unmet medical need.