Background: Rotavirus gastroenteritis, a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, is a vaccine-preventable disease. New safe and effective candidate rotavirus vaccines are needed to replace the withdrawn rhesus rotavirus-based oral vaccine.
Methods: We evaluated a monovalent human rotavirus vaccine, serotype G1, strain RIX4414, for efficacy, immunogenicity and safety in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial in Finland. We randomly allocated 405 healthy infants to receive 2 doses of vaccine or placebo (ratio 2:1) at approximately 2 and 4 months of age. The infants were followed during 2 rotavirus epidemic seasons (2000-2002) for acute gastroenteritis. Rotaviruses in diarrheal stool samples were primarily detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and confirmed and G-typed by reverse transciption-polymerase chain reaction.
Results: The vaccine was well-tolerated. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were observed during the study period. Rotavirus IgA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) seroconversion rate was 80% after 2 doses. Thirty-eight cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis were detected during the entire follow-up period; 35 of these were of the G1 type. RIX4414 vaccine significantly decreased the occurrence of any rotavirus compared with placebo. Efficacy during the first rotavirus epidemic season was 73% [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 27-91%] and 90% (95% CI 10-100%) against any and severe rotavirus gastroenteritis, respectively, and during the entire follow-up period 72% (95% CI 42-87%) against any and 85% (95% CI 42-97%) against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis (P < 0.05 for all comparisons).
Conclusions: RIX4414 strain of G1 human rotavirus vaccine was well-tolerated, immunogenic and efficacious in infants against rotavirus gastroenteritis during a 2-year period. To further increase vaccine "take" and efficacy, a higher dose of this vaccine may be considered for future efficacy trials.