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Functional characteristics of a modified immunoglobulin preparation for intravenous administration: Summary of studies of opsonic and protective activity against group B streptococci

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Group B streptococci (GBS) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in newborn babies, despite antibiotic therapy. Recent studies suggest that phagocytosis and killing of GBS is ineffective due to a deficiency in anti-GBS antibody. Using an opsonophagocytic bacterial assay and a suckling rat model of GBS sepsis, we analyzed a modified human immunoglobulin for opsonic and protective antibody. Immune globulin (IGIV) prepared for intravenous use (Gamimune®, Cutter Laboratories, Inc.) was highly protective in this experimental GBS model. Using the opsonophagocytic assay, antibody activity to several strains of types Ia, II, and III GBS were also demonstrated with IGIV. To ensure that the IGIV activity was in fact antibody, globulin from IGIV was isolated and analyzed. Purified IgG retained opsonic activityin vitro and also provided protection in experimental GBS disease. Variation in the quantity of IgG necessary for protection was observed in different GBS strains. Since IGIV has opsonic and protective activity against several strains and serotypes of GBS, its intravenous administration may provide a valuable adjunct to standard antibiotic therapy for neonatal GBS infections.

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Fischer, G.W., Wilson, S.R. & Hunter, K.W. Functional characteristics of a modified immunoglobulin preparation for intravenous administration: Summary of studies of opsonic and protective activity against group B streptococci. J Clin Immunol 2, 31S–35S (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00918364

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Key words

  • Group B streptococci
  • neonatal sepsis
  • intravenous immune globulin