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Priming with AS03 A-adjuvanted H5N1 influenza vaccine improves the kinetics, magnitude and durability of the immune response after a heterologous booster vaccination: an open non-randomised extension of a double-blind randomised primary study.

Vaccine 2010 January 9
An influenza vaccine with cross-immunogenic potential could play a key role in pandemic mitigation by promoting a rapid immune response to infection and/or subsequent vaccination with strains drifted from the primary vaccine strain. Here we assess the role of AS03(A) (an oil-in-water emulsion based Adjuvant System containing tocopherol) in this prime-boost concept using H5N1 as a model shift influenza antigen. In this open, non-randomised study (NCT00506350; an extension of an earlier randomised study) we assessed immunogenicity in nine groups of 35-50 volunteers aged 19-61 years following administration of AS03(A)-adjuvanted split-virion H5N1 vaccine containing 3.75mug of haemagglutinin (HA) from the A/Indonesia/5/2005(IBCDC-RG2) clade 2.1 strain. A single booster dose of vaccine was administered to four groups primed 14 months previously with different HA levels of AS03(A)-adjuvanted clade 1 A/Vietnam/1194/2004 H5N1 vaccine. Two booster doses (given 21 days apart) were administered to four groups primed 14 months previously with different HA levels of non-adjuvanted A/Vietnam/1194/2004 H5N1 vaccine and also to a control group of un-primed subjects. In individuals primed 14 months earlier with AS03(A)-adjuvanted A/Vietnam/1194/2004 vaccines, a single booster dose of AS03(A)-adjuvanted A/Indonesia/5/2005 induced rapid immune responses (licensure criteria met in 7-14 days) comparable to that observed in the un-primed control group following two doses of adjuvanted vaccine. In contrast, individuals primed with non-adjuvanted formulations exhibited minimal immune responses which, even after two doses, were unexpectedly much lower than that observed in un-primed subjects. AS03(A) enhances the initial priming effect of pandemic influenza vaccination enabling a rapid humoral response to single dose boosting with a heterologous strain at 14 months. In contrast, priming without adjuvant appears to inhibit the response to subsequent vaccination with a heterologous strain. These findings should guide the development of vaccines to combat the present influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.

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