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Comparison of Shortened Mosaic HIV-1 Vaccine Schedules: a Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase 1 Trial (IPCAVD010/HPX1002) And a Preclinical Study in Rhesus Monkeys (NHP 17–22)

Kathryn E. Stephenson et al., The Lancet HIV (2020) - PMID: 32078815

Product(s) used in this publication:  Peptide ELISA

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Current efficacy studies of a mosaic HIV-1 prophylactic vaccine require four vaccination visits over one year, which is a complex regimen that could prove challenging for vaccine delivery at the community level, both for recipients and clinics. In this study, we evaluated the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of shorter, simpler regimens of trivalent Ad26.Mos.HIV expressing mosaic HIV-1 Env/Gag/Pol antigens combined with aluminium phosphate-adjuvanted clade C gp140 protein.

METHODS:

We did this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 trial (IPCAVD010/HPX1002) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, USA. We included healthy, HIV-uninfected participants (aged 18-50 years) who were considered at low risk for HIV infection and had not received any vaccines in the 14 days before study commencement. We randomly assigned participants via a computer-generated randomisation schedule and interactive web response system to one of three study groups (1:1:1) testing different regimens of trivalent Ad26.Mos.HIV (5 × 1010 viral particles per 0·5 mL) combined with 250 μg adjuvanted clade C gp140 protein. They were then assigned to treatment or placebo subgroups (5:1) within each of the three main groups. Participants and investigators were masked to treatment allocation until the end of the follow-up period. Group 1 received Ad26.Mos.HIV alone at weeks 0 and 12 and Ad26.Mos.HIV plus adjuvanted gp140 at weeks 24 and 48. Group 2 received Ad26.Mos.HIV plus adjuvanted gp140 at weeks 0, 12, and 24. Group 3 received Ad26.Mos.HIV alone at week 0 and Ad26.Mos.HIV plus adjuvanted gp140 at weeks 8 and 24. Participants in the control group received 0·5 mL of 0·9% saline. All study interventions were administered intramuscularly. The primary endpoints were Env-specific binding antibody responses at weeks 28, 52, and 72 and safety and tolerability of the vaccine regimens for 28 days after the injection. All participants who received at least one vaccine dose or placebo were included in the safety analysis; immunogenicity was analysed using the per-protocol population. The IPCAVD010/HPX1002 trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02685020. We also did a parallel preclinical study in rhesus monkeys to test the protective efficacy of the shortened group 3 regimen.

FINDINGS:

Between March 7, 2016, and Aug 19, 2016, we randomly assigned 36 participants to receive at least one dose of study vaccine or placebo, ten to each vaccine group and two to the corresponding placebo group. 30 (83%) participants completed the full study, and six (17%) discontinued it prematurely because of loss to follow-up, withdrawal of consent, investigator decision, and an unrelated death from a motor vehicle accident. The two shortened regimens elicited comparable antibody titres against autologous clade C Env at peak immunity to the longer, 12-month regimen: geometric mean titre (GMT) 41 007 (95% CI 17 959-93 636) for group 2 and 49 243 (29 346-82 630) for group 3 at week 28 compared with 44 590 (19 345-102 781) for group 1 at week 52). Antibody responses remained increased (GMT >5000) in groups 2 and 3 at week 52 but were highest in group 1 at week 72. Antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, Env-specific IgG3, tier 1A neutralising activity, and broad cellular immune responses were detected in all groups. All vaccine regimens were well tolerated. Mild-to-moderate pain or tenderness at the injection site was the most commonly reported solicited local adverse event, reported by 28 vaccine recipients (93%) and two placebo recipients (33%). Grade 3 solicited systemic adverse events were reported by eight (27%) vaccine recipients and no placebo recipients; the most commonly reported grade 3 systemic symptoms were fatigue, myalgia, and chills. The shortened group 3 regimen induced comparable peak immune responses in 30 rhesus monkeys as in humans and resulted in an 83% (95% CI 38·7-95, p=0·004 log-rank test) reduction in per-exposure acquisition risk after six intrarectal challenges with SHIV-SF162P3 at week 54, more than 6 months after final vaccination.

INTERPRETATION:

Short, 6-month regimens of a mosaic HIV-1 prophylactic vaccine elicited robust HIV-specific immune responses that were similar to responses elicited by a longer, 12-month schedule. Preclinical data showed partial protective efficacy of one of the short vaccine regimens in rhesus monkeys. Further clinical studies are required to test the suitability of the shortened vaccine regimens in humans. Such shortened regimens would be valuable to increase vaccine delivery at the community level, particularly in resource-limited settings.

FUNDING:

Ragon Institute (Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University; Cambridge, MA, USA) and Janssen Vaccines & Prevention (Leiden, Netherlands).

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