Background: HIV patients are vaccine hyporesponsive.
Methods: We evaluated CPG 7909, a synthetic oligodeoxynucleotide containing immunostimulatory CpG motifs, as an adjuvant to Engerix-B. A randomized, double-blind controlled trial was conducted to determine safety and hepatitis B virus (HBV) immunogenicity in adult HIV subjects on effective antiretroviral therapy. HBV-susceptible subjects, half of whom had failed previous vaccination, were vaccinated at 0, 1 and 2 months with a double dose of Engerix-B with/without (+/-) 1 mg CPG 7909. HBV immune subjects (anti-HBsAg titres > or = 10 mIU/l) received either CPG 7909 alone or saline. Safety, anti-HBs titres and lymphocyte proliferation response (LPR) to HBsAg were assessed over 12 months.
Results: Vaccinations with Engerix B +/- CPG 7909 were well tolerated locally and systemically. HIV suppression and CD4 cell counts were maintained. Anti-HBs titers were significantly higher in vaccinees receiving CPG 7909, for all time points after the second dose. Seroprotective titres (> or = 10 mIU/ml) by 6 and 8 weeks, and 12 months were found in 89, 89, and 100% of subjects receiving CPG 7909 compared to 53, 42, and 63% of controls respectively (P = 0.029, 0.005, and 0.008). HBsAg LPR was increased at all time-points up to 12 months after vaccination with addition of CPG 7909 (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Addition of CPG 7909 achieves rapid, higher, and sustained HBV seroprotection and increases HBV-specific T helper cell response to HBV vaccine in HIV subjects. These results confirm a potential adjuvant role for CPG 7909 in vaccine hyporesponsive populations including those living with HIV.