Safety and immunogenicity of a novel recombinant adenovirus type-5 vector-based Ebola vaccine in healthy adults in China: preliminary report of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial

Feng-Cai Zhu, Li-Hua Hou, Jing-Xin Li, Shi-Po Wu, Pei Liu, Gui-Rong Zhang, Yue-Mei Hu, Fan-Yue Meng, Jun-Jie Xu, Rong Tang, Jin-Long Zhang, Wen-Juan Wang, Lei Duan, Kai Chu, Qi Liang, Jia-Lei Hu, Li Luo, Tao Zhu, Jun-Zhi Wang, Wei Chen
Lancet 2015 June 6, 385 (9984): 2272-9

BACKGROUND: Up to now, all tested Ebola virus vaccines have been based on the virus strain from the Zaire outbreak in 1976. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of a novel recombinant adenovirus type-5 vector-based Ebola vaccine expressing the glycoprotein of the 2014 epidemic strain.

METHODS: We did this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 clinical trial at one site in Taizhou County, Jiangsu Province, China. Healthy adults (aged 18-60 years) were sequentially enrolled and randomly assigned (2:1), by computer-generated block randomisation (block size of six), to receive placebo, low-dose adenovirus type-5 vector-based Ebola vaccine, or high-dose vaccine. Randomisation was pre-stratified by dose group. All participants, investigators, and laboratory staff were masked to treatment allocation. The primary safety endpoint was occurrence of solicited adverse reactions within 7 days of vaccination. The primary immunogenicity endpoints were glycoprotein-specific antibody titres and T-cell responses at day 28 after the vaccination. Analysis was by intention to treat. The study is registered with, number NCT02326194.

FINDINGS: Between Dec 28, 2014, and Jan 9, 2015, 120 participants were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive placebo (n=40), low-dose vaccine (n=40), or high-dose vaccine. Participants were followed up for 28 days. Overall, 82 (68%) participants reported at least one solicited adverse reaction within 7 days of vaccination (n=19 in the placebo group vs n=27 in the low-dose group vs n=36 in the high-dose group; p=0·0002). The most common reaction was mild pain at the injection site, which was reported in eight (20%) participants in the placebo group, 14 (35%) participants in the low-dose group, and 29 (73%) participants in the high-dose vaccine group (p<0·0001). We recorded no statistical differences in other adverse reactions and laboratory tests across groups. Glycoprotein-specific antibody titres were significantly increased in participants in the low-dose and high-dose vaccine groups at both day 14 (geometric mean titre 421·4 [95% CI 249·7-711·3] and 820·5 [598·9-1124·0], respectively; p<0·0001) and day 28 (682·7 [424·3-1098·5] and 1305·7 [970·1-1757·2], respectively; p<0·0001). T-cell responses peaked at day 14 at a median of 465·0 spot-forming cells (IQR 180·0-1202·5) in participants in the low-dose group and 765·0 cells (400·0-1460·0) in those in the high-dose group. 21 (18%) participants had mild fever (n=9 in the placebo group, n=6 in the low-dose group, and n=6 in the high-dose group). No serious adverse events were recorded.

INTERPRETATION: Our findings show that the high-dose vaccine is safe and robustly immunogenic. One shot of the high-dose vaccine could mount glycoprotein-specific humoral and T-cell response against Ebola virus in 14 days.

FUNDING: China National Science and Technology, Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, and Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology.

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