Shigellosis is a mild-to-severe diarrheal infection, caused by the genus Shigella, and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. We evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of an investigational Shigella sonnei vaccine (1790GAHB) based on generalized modules for membrane antigens (GMMA) in Kenya, a Shigella-endemic country. This phase 2a, observer-blind, controlled randomized study (NCT02676895) enrolled 74 healthy adults aged 18-45 years, of whom 72 were vaccinated. Participants received, in a 1:1:1 ratio, two vaccinations with the 1790GAHB vaccine at doses of either 1.5/25 μg of O antigen (OAg)/protein (group 1.5/25 μg) or 5.9/100 μg (group 5.9/100 μg) at day (D) 1 and D29, or vaccination with a quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine at D1 and tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine at D29 (control group). Solicited and unsolicited adverse events (AEs), serious AEs (SAEs), and AEs of special interest (neutropenia and reactive arthritis) were collected. Anti-S. sonnei lipopolysaccharide (LPS) serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) geometric mean concentrations (GMC) were evaluated at D1, D29, and D57 and compared to anti-S. sonnei LPS antibody levels in convalescent patients naturally exposed to S. sonnei. The percentages of participants with seroresponse were also calculated. The most frequently reported solicited local and systemic AEs across all groups were pain and headache, respectively. Only one case of severe systemic reaction was reported (severe headache after first vaccination in group 5.9/100 μg). Seven and three episodes of neutropenia, assessed as probably or possibly related to vaccination respectively, were reported in the investigational and control groups, respectively. No other SAEs were reported. Despite very high baseline anti-S. sonnei LPS serum IgG levels, the 1790GAHB vaccine induced robust antibody responses. At D29, GMC increased 2.10- and 4.43-fold from baseline in groups 1.5/25 and 5.9/100 μg, respectively, whereas no increase was observed in the control group. Antibody titers at D57 were not statistically different from those at D29. Seroresponse was 68% at D29 and 90% at D57 in group 1.5/25 μg, and 96% after each vaccination in group 5.9/100 μg. The 1790GAHB vaccine was well tolerated and highly immunogenic in a population of African adults, regardless of the GMMA OAg/protein content used.
Keywords: 1790GAHB vaccine; Shigella sonnei; Shigella-endemic settings; generalized modules for membrane antigen; immunogenicity; safety.