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New UCMS study finds Indian kids are highly protected against rubella and measles

A longitudinal study, conducted by researchers from the New Delhi-based University College of Medical Sciences found that Indian children attain a high degree of protection against recently introduced measles–rubella (MR).

The findings of the study, published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research recently, revealed that while the seroprotection rate against rubella was 97.5% and  88.7% against measles 4-6 weeks after the first dose, it rose to 100% after the second dose.

Noting that there is a paucity of data regarding the immunogenicity of the recently introduced measles–rubella (MR) vaccine in Indian children, in which the first dose is administered below one year of age, the researchers said that they undertook the study to assess the immunogenicity against rubella and measles 4-6 week after one and two doses of MR vaccine administered under India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

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In this longitudinal study, the researchers enrolled 100 healthy infants aged 9-12 months of either gender attending the immunisation clinic of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital affiliated with the University College of Medical Sciences for the first dose of routine MR vaccination.

Each participant received 0.5 ml MR vaccine subcutaneously and received their first dose at 9-12 months and the second dose at 15-24 months, the researchers wrote.

On each follow-up (4-6 weeks after vaccination), the researchers collected two ml of the blood sample to estimate the antibody titres against measles and rubella using quantitative ELISA kits.

Seroprotection (>10 IU/ml for measles and >10 WHO U/ml for rubella) and antibody titres were assessed following each dose, according to the researchers.

The researchers discovered that the mean (standard deviation) concentrations of anti-rubella and anti-measles antibodies increased by approximately 100% and 20%, respectively, after the second treatment compared to the levels after the first dose.

The UIP-administered MR vaccination resulted in seroprotection against rubella and measles in the vast majority of children and its second dose protected every child they inferred.

“The current MR vaccination strategy of two doses, out of which the first is to be given to infants below one year of age, appears robust and justifiable among Indian children,” the researchers concluded.

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