Immunogenicity and safety of an enterovirus 71 vaccine in healthy Chinese children and infants: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 clinical trial

Feng-Cai Zhu, Zheng-Lun Liang, Xiu-Ling Li, Heng-Ming Ge, Fan-Yue Meng, Qun-Ying Mao, Yun-Tao Zhang, Yue-Mei Hu, Zhen-Yu Zhang, Jing-Xin Li, Fan Gao, Qing-Hua Chen, Qi-Yan Zhu, Kai Chu, Xing Wu, Xin Yao, Hui-Jie Guo, Xiao-Qin Chen, Pei Liu, Yu-Ying Dong, Feng-Xiang Li, Xin-Liang Shen, Jun-Zhi Wang
Lancet 2013 March 23, 381 (9871): 1037-45

BACKGROUND: Enterovirus 71 (EV71) outbreaks are a socioeconomic burden, especially in the western Pacific region. Results of phase 1 clinical trials suggest an EV71 vaccine has a clinically acceptable safety profile and immunogenicity. We aimed to assess the best possible dose and formulation, immunogenicity, and safety profile of this EV71 vaccine in healthy Chinese children.

METHODS: This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial was undertaken at one site in Donghai County, Jiangsu Province, China. Eligible participants were healthy boys or girls aged 6–36 months. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1:1) to receive either 160 U, 320 U, or 640 U alum-adjuvant EV71 vaccine, 640 U adjuvant-free EV71 vaccine, or a placebo (containing alum adjuvant only), according to a blocked randomisation list generated by SAS 9.1. Participants and investigators were masked to the assignment. The primary endpoint was anti-EV71 neutralising antibody geometric mean titres (GMTs) at day 56, analysed according to protocol. The study is registered with, number NCT01399853.

FINDINGS: We randomly assigned 1200 participants, 240 (120 aged 6–11 months [infants] and 120 aged 12–36 months [children]) of whom were assigned to each dose. 1106 participants completed the study and were included in the according-to-protocol analysis. The main reasons for dropout were withdrawal of consent and refusal to donate a blood sample. Infants who received the 640 U adjuvant vaccine had the highest GMTs on day 56 (742·2 [95% CI 577·3–954·3]), followed by those who received the 320 U formulation (497·9 [383·1–647·0]). For children, those who received the 320 U formulation had the highest GMTs on day 56 (1383·2 [1037·3–1844·5]). Participants who received the vaccine had significantly higher GMTs than did who received placebo (p<0·0001). For the subgroup of participants who were seronegative at baseline, both infants and children who received the 640 U adjuvant vaccine had the highest GMTs on day 56 (522·8 [403·9–676·6] in infants and 708·4 [524·1–957·6] in children), followed by those who received the 320 U adjuvant vaccine (358·2 [280·5–457·5] in infants and 498·0 [383·4–646·9] in children). 549 (45·8%) of 1200 participants (95 CI 42·9–48·6%) reported at least one injection-site or systemic adverse reaction, but the incidence of adverse reactions did not differ significantly between groups (p=0·36). The 640 U alum-adjuvant vaccine group had a significantly higher incidence of induration than did the 640 U adjuvant-free group (p=0·001).

INTERPRETATION: Taking immunogenicity, safety, and production capacity into account, the 320 U alum-adjuvant formulation of the EV71 vaccine is probably the best possible formulation for phase 3 trials.

FUNDING: The National Science and Technology Major Project (2011ZX10004-902) of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, China's 12–5 National Major Infectious Disease Program (2012ZX10002-001), and Beijing Vigoo Biological.

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