The Effect of Chloroquine Prophylaxis on Yellow Fever Vaccine Antibody Response: Comparison of Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test and Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

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  • Yale University School of Medicine

Weekly oral chloroquine prophylaxis for malaria has been associated with impaired antibody response to intradermal rabies vaccination. Experimental data indicate that chloroquine may inhibit yellow fever virus in vitro, yet there has been no clinical evidence to suggest that antibody response to yellow fever vaccine is impaired by concomitant oral administration of chloroquine. A prospective trial was undertaken to evaluate the antibody response to yellow fever 17D vaccine (Connaught Laboratories) of volunteers who were randomized to taking either chloroquine or no drug. Of fifty subjects, 28 were randomized to taking chloroquine, 22 were randomized to taking no drug. Yellow fever 17D vaccine was administered on day 0 and blood sampled on days 0, 14, 35 and 210. Chloroquine was administered weekly for four weeks. There was no significant difference in peak antibody titer by plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT) between the group that took chloroquine (mean log peak of reciprocal titer 1.43 ± SD 0.60) with vaccine subcutaneously compared to vaccine-only group (mean log peak of reciprocal titer = 1.21 ± 0.55). All fifty subjects seroconverted to yellow fever vaccine by day 210. ELISA testing was also performed on all subjects. The two tests showed good correlation (Spearman r = 0.675), although ELISA readings were positive by day 14 in significantly more subjects (p = .01). We conclude that routine anti-malarial doses of chloroquine do not affect antibody response to yellow fever 17D vaccine. ELISA testing, a less complex and less time-consuming test, correlates well with PRNT and is proposed for additional trials to measure yellow fever 17D vaccine response in flavivirus non-immune subjects.