Background: Rabies is a fatal disease where post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is crucial in preventing infection. However, deaths even after appropriate PEP, have been reported. The PIKA Rabies vaccine adjuvant is a TLR3 agonist that activates B and T cells leading to a robust immune response.
Methods: We conducted a phase I, open label, randomized study in healthy adults to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the PIKA Rabies vaccine and an accelerated vaccine regimen. Thirty-seven subjects were randomized into 3 groups: control vaccine classic regimen, PIKA vaccine classic regimen and PIKA vaccine accelerated regimen. Subjects were followed up for safety, rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (RVNA) and T cell responses.
Results: Both the control and PIKA Rabies vaccine were well tolerated. All adverse events (AEs) were mild and self-limiting. Seventy-five percent of subjects in the PIKA accelerated regimen achieved a RVNA titer ⩾0.5IU/mL on day 7, compared to 53.9% in the PIKA classic regimen (p=0.411) and 16.7% in control vaccine classic regimen (p=0.012). The PIKA rabies vaccine elicited multi-specific rabies CD4 mediated T cell response already detectable ex vivo at day 7 after vaccination and that was maintained at day 42.
Conclusion: The investigational PIKA rabies vaccine was well tolerated and more immunogenic than the commercially available vaccine in healthy adults. Clinical trial registry: The study was registered with clinicaltrials.gov NCT02657161.
Keywords: Immunogenicity; PIKA rabies vaccine; Rabies-specific T cell immune response; Safety.
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