The antibody responses of 194 volunteers were studied for up to 3 years after primary immunization with one, two or three doses of human diploid cell rabies vaccine, administered either in 0·1 ml volumes intradermally (i.d.) or as 1·0 ml intramuscularly (i.m.). Sero-conversion occurred in 95% of subjects after the first injection and in 100% after the second. The highest titres and most durable antibody responses were induced by three injections of vaccine.
Booster doses were administered either by the subcutaneous (s.c.) or i.d. route, after 6, 12 or 24 months to randomly grouped volunteers; these induced responses ≥ 5·0 i.u. per ml in 95% of subjects. The responses were rapid and were neither influenced by the primary regimen nor by the timing and route of the booster dose.
Antibody titres after i.d. immunization were only two-fold lower than those induced by the larger volume of vaccine. The findings suggest that the i.d. route is both effective and economic.