Antibody dynamics in childhood diseases: Waning and boosting of immunity and the impact of vaccination

K. Glass, B. T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The introduction of vaccination against acute diseases such as measles induced a dramatic decline in the prevalence of the disease, and a more gradual rise in the proportion of the population whose immunity is derived solely from vaccination. These two factors combine to constitute an important shift in the dynamics of immunity, especially in highly vaccinated populations. We develop a general model to describe both loss of immunity in the absence of disease, and boosting of immunity corresponding to subclinical infection in individuals whose immunity has waned. We consider the interaction between infection and immunity and identify the key parameters that determine the eradication threshold. We explore the dynamics in the years following the introduction of vaccination using a stochastic version of the model, and consider the effect of different assumptions concerning the nature of immunity. A comparison of the model results with recently published data suggests that heterogeneity in host immune response is an important feature of the antibody dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 7 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation


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