Background: The RTS,S/AS malaria vaccine is being developed for delivery through the World Health Organization's Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). We assessed the feasibility of integrating RTS,S/AS02D into a standard EPI schedule for infants.
Methods: In this phase 2B, single-center, double-blind, controlled trial involving 340 infants in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, we randomly assigned 340 infants to receive three doses of either the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine or the hepatitis B vaccine at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. All infants also received a vaccine containing diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, whole-cell pertussis vaccine, and conjugated Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (DTPw/Hib). The primary objectives were the occurrence of serious adverse events during a 9-month surveillance period and a demonstration of noninferiority of the responses to the EPI vaccines (DTPw/Hib and hepatitis B surface antigen) with coadministration of the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine, as compared with the hepatitis B vaccine. The detection of antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite and efficacy against malaria infection were secondary objectives.
Results: At least one serious adverse event was reported in 31 of 170 infants who received the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine (18.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 12.7 to 24.9) and in 42 of 170 infants who received the hepatitis B vaccine (24.7%; 95% CI, 18.4 to 31.9). The results showed the noninferiority of the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine in terms of antibody responses to EPI antigens. One month after vaccination, 98.6% of infants receiving the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine had seropositive titers for anticircumsporozoite antibodies on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). During the 6-month period after the third dose of vaccine, the efficacy of the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine against first infection with P. falciparum malaria was 65.2% (95% CI, 20.7 to 84.7; P=0.01).
Conclusions: The use of the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine in infants had a promising safety profile, did not interfere with the immunologic responses to coadministered EPI antigens, and reduced the incidence of malaria infection. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00289185.)
2008 Massachusetts Medical Society