Safety and immunogenicity of a pentavalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine containing serogroups A, C, Y, W, and X in healthy adults: a phase 1, single-centre, double-blind, randomised, controlled study

Wilbur H Chen, Kathleen M Neuzil, C Rebecca Boyce, Marcela F Pasetti, Mardi K Reymann, Lionel Martellet, Nancy Hosken, F Marc LaForce, Rajeev M Dhere, Sambhaji S Pisal, Amol Chaudhari, Prasad S Kulkarni, Ray Borrow, Helen Findlow, Valerie Brown, Megan L McDonough, Len Dally, Mark R Alderson
Lancet Infectious Diseases 2018, 18 (10): 1088-1096

BACKGROUND: Invasive meningococcal disease is an important public health problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. After introduction of MenAfriVac in 2010, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A disease has been almost eliminated from the region. However, serogroups C, W, Y, and X continue to cause disease outbreaks. We assessed the NmCV-5 pentavalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine targeting A, C, Y, W, and X serogroups in a first-in-man, phase 1 study.

METHODS: We did a single-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial at a research clinic in Baltimore (MD, USA). Participants were healthy adults aged 18-45 years with no history of meningococcal vaccination or previous meningococcal infection. We randomly assigned participants (1:1:1) by an SAS-generated random schedule to a single, 0·5 mL, intramuscular injection of aluminium-phosphate adjuvanted NmCV-5, non-adjuvanted NmCV-5, or control (the quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine Menactra). The randomisation sequence used a permuted block design with randomly chosen block sizes of three and six. The vaccines were prepared, labelled, and administered with procedures to ensure participants and study personnel remained masked to treatment. After vaccination, participants were observed in the clinic for 60 min for adverse reactions. Participants recorded daily temperature and injection site or systemic reactions at home and returned to the clinic for follow-up visits on days 7, 28, and 84 for safety assessments; blood samples were also collected on day 7 for safety laboratory assessment. A phone call contact was made 6 months after vaccination. Serum was collected before vaccination and 28 days after vaccination for immunological assessment with a rabbit complement-dependent serum bactericidal antibody (rSBA) assay. The primary objective was an intention-to-treat assessment of safety, measuring local and systemic reactogenicity over 7 days, unsolicited adverse events through 28 days, and serious adverse events over 6 months. The secondary objective for the assessment of immunogenicity, was a per-protocol analysis of rSBA before and 28 days after vaccination. This trial is registered with, number NCT02810340.

FINDINGS: Between Aug 17, 2016, and Feb 16, 2017, we assigned 20 participants to each vaccine. All vaccines were well-tolerated. Pain was the most common local reaction, occurring in 12 (60%), ten (50%), and seven (35%) participants in the adjuvanted NmCV-5, non-adjuvanted NmCV-5, and control groups, respectively. Headache was the most common systemic reaction, occurring in five (25%), three (15%), and three (15%), respectively. Most solicited reactogenicity adverse reactions were mild (60 [74%] of 81) and all were self-limiting. None of the differences in proportions of individuals with each solicited reaction was significant (p>0·300 for all comparisons) between the three vaccination groups. There were no serious adverse events and 19 unsolicited non-serious adverse events in 14 (23%) participants. Both adjuvanted and non-adjuvanted NmCV-5 elicited high rSBA titres against all five meningococcal serogroups. The pre-vaccination geometric mean titres (GMTs) ranged from 3·36 to 53·80 for the control, from 6·28 to 187·00 for the adjuvanted vaccine, and from 4·29 to 350·00 for the non-adjuvanted vaccine, and the post-vaccination GMT ranged from 3·14 to 3214 for the control, from 1351 to 8192 for the adjuvanted vaccine, and from 1607 to 11 191 for the non-adjuvanted vaccine. Predicted seroprotective responses (ie, an increase in rSBA titres of eight times or more) for the adjuvanted and non-adjuvanted NmCV-5 were similar to control responses for all five serogroups.

INTERPRETATION: The adjuvanted and non-adjuvanted NmCV-5 vaccines were well tolerated and did not produce concerning adverse effects and resulted in immune responses that are predicted to confer protection against all five targeted serogroups of invasive meningococcal disease. Further clinical testing of NmCV-5 is ongoing, and additional clinical trials are necessary to confirm the safety and immunogenicity of NmCV-5 in target populations.

FUNDING: UK Department for International Development.


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