Background: Currently controversy exists about the immunogenicity of seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine in certain populations, especially the elderly. STF2.4×M2e (VAX102) is a recombinant fusion protein that links four copies of the ectodomain of influenza virus matrix protein 2 (M2e) antigen to Salmonella typhimurium flagellin, a TLR5 ligand. The objectives of this study were to assess the feasibility of giving VAX102 and TIV in combination in an effort to achieve greater immunogenicity and to provide cross-protection.
Methodology/principal findings: Eighty healthy subjects, 18-49 years old, were enrolled in May and June 2009 in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial at two clinical sites. Subjects were randomized to receive either TIV + VAX102 or TIV + placebo. Both arms tolerated the vaccines. Pain at the injection site was more severe with TIV + VAX102. Two weeks after immunization the HAI responses to the H1 and H3 antigens of TIV were higher in those that received TIV + VAX102 than in TIV + placebo (309 vs 200 and 269 vs 185, respectively), although statistically non-significant. There was no difference in the HAI of the B antigen. In the TIV + VAX102 arm, the geometric mean M2e antibody concentration was 0.5 µg/ml and 73% seroconverted.
Conclusions/significance: The combination of TIV + VAX102 has the potential to increase the immune response to the influenza A components of TIV and to provide M2e immunity which may protect against influenza A strains not contained in seasonal TIV.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00921973.