What Is the Evidence to Support a Correlate of Protection for Measles? A Systematic Review

Shelly Bolotin, Stephanie L. Hughes, Nazish Gul, Sumaiya Khan, Paul A. Rota, Alberto Severini, Susan Hahné, Andrea Tricco, William J. Moss, Walter Orenstein, Nikki Turner, David Durrheim, Jane M. Heffernan, Natasha Crowcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Many studies assume that the serologic correlate of protection from measles disease is 120 mIU/mL. We systematically reviewed the literature to examine the evidence supporting this correlate of protection. Methods: We searched peer-reviewed and gray literature for articles reporting a measles correlate of protection. We excluded studies focusing on special populations, infants aged <9 months, and those using animal models or nonstandard vaccines or administration routes. We extracted and synthesized data from full-text articles that met inclusion criteria. Results: We screened 14 778 articles and included 5 studies in our review. The studies reported either preexposure antibody concentrations of individuals along with a description of symptoms postexposure, or the proportion of measles cases that had preexposure antibody concentrations above a threshold of immunity specified by the authors. Some studies also described secondary antibody responses upon exposure. The variation in laboratory methods between studies made comparisons difficult. Some of the studies that assumed 120 mIU/mL as a correlate of protection identified symptomatic individuals with preexposure titers exceeding this threshold. Conclusions: Our findings underscore the scant data upon which the commonly used 120 mIU/mL measles threshold of protection is based, suggesting that further work is required to characterize the measles immunity threshold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1576-1583
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Apr 27 2020


  • correlate of protection
  • measles immunity
  • systematic review
  • threshold of protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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