Background: Two antigenically distinct influenza B lineages have cocirculated since 2001, yet trivalent influenza vaccines (TIVs) contain 1 influenza B antigen, meaning lineage mismatch with the vaccine is frequent. We assessed a candidate inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) containing both B lineages vs TIV in healthy children aged 3-17 years.
Methods: Children were randomized 1:1:1 to receive QIV or 1 of 2 TIVs (either B/Victoria or B/Yamagata lineage; N = 2738). Hemagglutination-inhibition assays were performed 28 days after 1 or 2 doses in primed and unprimed children, respectively. Immunological noninferiority of QIV vs TIV against shared strains, and superiority against alternate-lineage B strains was based on geometric mean titers (GMTs) and seroconversion rates. Reactogenicity and safety were also assessed (Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01196988).
Results: Noninferiority against shared strains and superiority against alternate-lineage B strains was demonstrated for QIV vs TIV. QIV was highly immunogenic; seroconversion rates were 91.4%, 72.3%, 70.0%, and 72.5% against A/H1N1, A/H3N2, B/Victoria, and B/Yamagata, respectively. Reactogenicity and safety of QIV was consistent with TIV.
Conclusions: QIV vs TIV showed superior immunogenicity for the additional B strain without interfering with immune responses to shared strains. QIV may offer improved protection against influenza B in children compared with current trivalent vaccines.
Keywords: noninferiority; pediatric; quadrivalent; seasonal influenza; superiority; trivalent.