Background: SRL172 prevented disease due to Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a Phase 3 trial. DAR-901 represents a scalable manufacturing process for SRL172. We sought to determine if DAR-901 would prevent infection with M. tuberculosis among BCG-primed adolescents age 13-15 years in Tanzania.
Methods: Adolescents with a negative T- SPOT.TBR interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) were randomized 1:1 to three intradermal injections of DAR-901 or saline placebo at 0, 2 and 4 months. Repeat IGRAs were performed at 2 months, and at 1, 2, and 3 years. The primary efficacy outcome was time to new TB infection (IGRA conversion to positive); the secondary outcome was time to persistent TB infection (IGRA conversion with repeat positive IGRA).
Results: Among 936 participants screened 667 were eligible and randomized to their first dose of vaccine or placebo (safety cohort). At 2 months, 625 participants remained IGRA-negative and were scheduled for the additional two doses (efficacy cohort). DAR-901 was safe and well-tolerated. One DAR-901 recipient developed a vaccine site abscess. Neither the primary nor secondary endpoints differed between the two treatment arms (p = 0.90 and p = 0.20, respectively). DAR-901 IGRA converters had median responses to ESAT-6 of 50.1 spot-forming cells (SFCs) vs. 19.6 SFCs in placebo IGRA converters (p = 0.03).
Conclusions: A three-dose series of 1 mg DAR-901 was safe and well-tolerated but did not prevent initial or persistent IGRA conversion. DAR-901 recipients with IGRA conversion demonstrated enhanced immune responses to ESAT-6. Since protection against disease may require different immunologic responses than protection against infection a trial of DAR-901 to prevent TB disease is warranted.
Trial registration: The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT02712424.
Keywords: BCG; DAR-901; Interferon gamma release assay; Tanzania; Tuberculosis; Vaccine.
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