Replication-deficient adenoviral vectors have been under investigation as a platform technology for vaccine development for several years and have recently been successfully deployed as an effective COVID-19 counter measure. A replication-deficient adenoviral vector based on the simian adenovirus type Y25 and named ChAdOx1 has been evaluated in several clinical trials since 2012. The Brighton Collaboration Benefit-Risk Assessment of VAccines by TechnolOgy (BRAVATO) was formed to evaluate the safety and other key features of new platform technology vaccines. This manuscript reviews key features of the ChAdOx1-vectored vaccines. The simian adenovirus Y25 was chosen as a strategy to circumvent pre-existing immunity to common human adenovirus serotypes which could impair immune responses induced by adenoviral vectored vaccines. Deletion of the E1 gene renders the ChAdOx1 vector replication incompetent and further genetic engineering of the E3 and E4 genes allows for increased insertional capability and optimizes vaccine manufacturing processes. ChAdOx1 vectored vaccines can be manufactured in E1 complementing cell lines at scale and are thermostable. The first ChAdOx1 vectored vaccines approved for human use, against SARS-CoV-2, received emergency use authorization in the UK on 30th December 2020, and is now approved in more than 180 countries. Safety data were compiled from phase I-III clinical trials of ChAdOx1 vectored vaccines expressing different antigens (influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, meningococcal B, prostate cancer, MERS-CoV, Chikungunya, Zika and SARS-CoV-2), conducted by the University of Oxford, as well as post marketing surveillance data for the COVID-19 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Overall, ChAdOx1 vectored vaccines have been well tolerated. Very rarely, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), capillary leak syndrome (CLS), immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been reported following mass administration of the COVID-19 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The benefits of this COVID-19 vaccination have outweighed the risks of serious adverse events in most settings, especially with mitigation of risks when possible. Extensive immunogenicity clinical evaluation of ChAdOx1 vectored vaccines reveal strong, durable humoral and cellular immune responses to date; studies to refine the COVID-19 protection (e.g., via homologous/heterologous booster, fractional dose) are also underway. New prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines based on the ChAdOx1 vector are currently undergoing pre-clinical and clinical assessment, including vaccines against viral hemorrhagic fevers, Nipah virus, HIV, Hepatitis B, amongst others.
Keywords: Adenovirus; Benefit/Risk; Safety; Vaccine; Virus.
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