Dengue serotype immune-interactions and their consequences for vaccine impact predictions.
Lourenço J., Recker M.
Dengue is one of the most important and wide-spread viral infections affecting human populations. The last few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the global burden of dengue, with the virus now being endemic or near-endemic in over 100 countries world-wide. A recombinant tetravalent vaccine candidate (CYD-TDV) has recently completed Phase III clinical efficacy trials in South East Asia and Latin America and has been licensed for use in several countries. The trial results showed moderate-to-high efficacies in protection against clinical symptoms and hospitalisation but with so far unknown effects on transmission and infections per se. Model-based predictions about the vaccine's short- or long-term impact on the burden of dengue are therefore subject to a considerable degree of uncertainty. Furthermore, different immune interactions between dengue's serotypes have frequently been evoked by modelling studies to underlie dengue's oscillatory dynamics in disease incidence and serotype prevalence. Here we show how model assumptions regarding immune interactions in the form of antibody-dependent enhancement, temporary cross-immunity and the number of infections required to develop full immunity can significantly affect the predicted outcome of a dengue vaccination campaign. Our results thus re-emphasise the important gap in our current knowledge concerning the effects of previous exposure on subsequent dengue infections and further suggest that intervention impact studies should be critically evaluated by their underlying assumptions about serotype immune-interactions.