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Absence of Complete Homologous Immunity in Hepatitis B Infection After Massive Exposure

CHRISTIAN G. TREPO, M.D.; and ALFRED M. PRINCE, M.D.
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Grant support: by NIH Grant HL-09011. Dr. Prince was supported by a Career Scientist award from the Health Research Council of the City of New York; and Dr. Trepo was supported by an NIH International Post-Doctoral Fellowship.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Alfred M. Prince, M.D.; The New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th St.; New York, NY 10021.


New York, New York


Ann Intern Med. 1976;85(4):427-430. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-85-4-427
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Evidence from prospective studies of human cases of posttransfusion hepatitis observed among 299 cardiac surgery patients, and from each of three experimentally challenged chimpanzees, indicates that immunity to hepatitis B infection can be overcome by massive challenge doses. However, all cases of hepatitis in patients with prior immunity have been subclinical. Chimpanzees developed hepatitis and HBs antigenemia when challenged with hepatitis B virus that had an antigenic subtype identical to that used in the primary infection. This response provides evidence against the role of differences in antigenic composition of initial and challenge strains of virus as an explanation for incomplete homologous immunity.

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