Background: Almost 700 cases of human infection with avian influenza A/H7N9 have been reported since 2013. Pandemic preparedness strategies include H7N9 vaccine development.
Methods: We evaluated an inactivated H7N9 vaccine in an observer-blind study in healthy adults aged 18-64 years. Participants (420) were randomized to receive 1 of 4 AS03-adjuvanted vaccines (low or medium dose of hemagglutinin with AS03A or AS03B), one nonadjuvanted vaccine, or placebo. The coprimary immunogenicity objective determined whether adjuvanted vaccines elicited an immune response against the vaccine-homologous virus, 21 days after the second vaccine dose per US and European licensure criteria in the per-protocol cohort (n = 389).
Results: All adjuvanted vaccines met regulatory acceptance criteria. In groups receiving adjuvanted formulations, seroconversion rates were ≥85.7%, seroprotection rates ≥91.1%, and geometric mean titers ≥92.9% versus 23.2%, 28.6%, and 17.2 for the nonadjuvanted vaccine. The AS03 adjuvant enhanced immune response at antigen-sparing doses. Injection site pain occurred more frequently with adjuvanted vaccines (in ≤98.3% of vaccinees) than with the nonadjuvanted vaccine (40.7%) or placebo (20.0%). None of the 20 serious adverse events reported were related to vaccination.
Conclusions: Two doses of AS03-adjuvanted H7N9 vaccine were well tolerated and induced a robust antibody response at antigen-sparing doses in healthy adults.
Clinical trials registration: NCT01999842.
Keywords: AS03; H7N9; adjuvant system; antigen sparing; influenza; pandemic; vaccine.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.