Introduction: The risk of poor vaccine immunogenicity and more severe influenza disease in HIV necessitate strategies to improve vaccine efficacy.
Methods: A randomized, multi-centered, controlled, vaccine trial with three parallel groups was conducted at 12 CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network sites. Three dosing strategies were used in HIV infected adults (18 to 60 years): two standard doses over 28 days, two double doses over 28 days and a single standard dose of influenza vaccine, administered prior to the 2008 influenza season. A trivalent killed split non-adjuvanted influenza vaccine (Fluviral™) was used. Serum hemagglutinin inhibition (HAI) activity for the three influenza strains in the vaccine was measured to assess immunogenicity.
Results: 297 of 298 participants received at least one injection. Baseline CD4 (median 470 cells/µL) and HIV RNA (76% of patients with viral load <50 copies/mL) were similar between groups. 89% were on HAART. The overall immunogenicity of influenza vaccine across time points and the three influenza strains assessed was poor (Range HAI ≥ 40 = 31-58%). Double dose plus double dose booster slightly increased the proportion achieving HAI titre doubling from baseline for A/Brisbane and B/Florida at weeks 4, 8 and 20 compared to standard vaccine dose. Increased immunogenicity with increased antigen dose and booster dosing was most apparent in participants with unsuppressed HIV RNA at baseline. None of 8 serious adverse events were thought to be immunization-related.
Conclusion: Even with increased antigen dose and booster dosing, non-adjuvanted influenza vaccine immunogenicity is poor in HIV infected individuals. Alternative influenza vaccines are required in this hyporesponsive population.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00764998.