Background: Use of heterologous prime-boost COVID-19 vaccine schedules could facilitate mass COVID-19 immunisation. However, we have previously reported that heterologous schedules incorporating an adenoviral vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, AstraZeneca; hereafter referred to as ChAd) and an mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2, Pfizer-BioNTech; hereafter referred to as BNT) at a 4-week interval are more reactogenic than homologous schedules. Here, we report the safety and immunogenicity of heterologous schedules with the ChAd and BNT vaccines.
Methods: Com-COV is a participant-blinded, randomised, non-inferiority trial evaluating vaccine safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity. Adults aged 50 years and older with no or well controlled comorbidities and no previous SARS-CoV-2 infection by laboratory confirmation were eligible and were recruited at eight sites across the UK. The majority of eligible participants were enrolled into the general cohort (28-day or 84-day prime-boost intervals), who were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1:1:1:1:1) to receive ChAd/ChAd, ChAd/BNT, BNT/BNT, or BNT/ChAd, administered at either 28-day or 84-day prime-boost intervals. A small subset of eligible participants (n=100) were enrolled into an immunology cohort, who had additional blood tests to evaluate immune responses; these participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) to the four schedules (28-day interval only). Participants were masked to the vaccine received but not to the prime-boost interval. The primary endpoint was the geometric mean ratio (GMR) of serum SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike IgG concentration (measured by ELISA) at 28 days after boost, when comparing ChAd/BNT with ChAd/ChAd, and BNT/ChAd with BNT/BNT. The heterologous schedules were considered non-inferior to the approved homologous schedules if the lower limit of the one-sided 97·5% CI of the GMR of these comparisons was greater than 0·63. The primary analysis was done in the per-protocol population, who were seronegative at baseline. Safety analyses were done among participants receiving at least one dose of a study vaccine. The trial is registered with ISRCTN, 69254139.
Findings: Between Feb 11 and Feb 26, 2021, 830 participants were enrolled and randomised, including 463 participants with a 28-day prime-boost interval, for whom results are reported here. The mean age of participants was 57·8 years (SD 4·7), with 212 (46%) female participants and 117 (25%) from ethnic minorities. At day 28 post boost, the geometric mean concentration of SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike IgG in ChAd/BNT recipients (12 906 ELU/mL) was non-inferior to that in ChAd/ChAd recipients (1392 ELU/mL), with a GMR of 9·2 (one-sided 97·5% CI 7·5 to ∞). In participants primed with BNT, we did not show non-inferiority of the heterologous schedule (BNT/ChAd, 7133 ELU/mL) against the homologous schedule (BNT/BNT, 14 080 ELU/mL), with a GMR of 0·51 (one-sided 97·5% CI 0·43 to ∞). Four serious adverse events occurred across all groups, none of which were considered to be related to immunisation.
Interpretation: Despite the BNT/ChAd regimen not meeting non-inferiority criteria, the SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike IgG concentrations of both heterologous schedules were higher than that of a licensed vaccine schedule (ChAd/ChAd) with proven efficacy against COVID-19 disease and hospitalisation. Along with the higher immunogenicity of ChAd/BNT compared with ChAD/ChAd, these data support flexibility in the use of heterologous prime-boost vaccination using ChAd and BNT COVID-19 vaccines.
Funding: UK Vaccine Task Force and National Institute for Health Research.
Crown Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.