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1.  An Inactivated Ross River Virus Vaccine Is Well Tolerated and Immunogenic in an Adult Population in a Randomized Phase 3 Trial 
Ross River virus (RRV) is endemic in Australia and several South Pacific Islands. More than 90,000 cases of RRV disease, which is characterized by debilitating polyarthritis, were reported in Australia in the last 20 years. There is no vaccine available to prevent RRV disease. A phase 3 study was undertaken at 17 sites in Australia to investigate the safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated whole-virus Vero cell culture-derived RRV vaccine in 1,755 healthy younger adults aged 16 to 59 years and 209 healthy older adults aged ≥60 years. Participants received a 2.5-μg dose of Al(OH)3-adjuvanted RRV vaccine, with a second and third dose after 3 weeks and 6 months, respectively. Vaccine-induced RRV-specific neutralizing and total IgG antibody titers were measured after each immunization. Vaccine safety was monitored over the entire study period. The vaccine was safe and well-tolerated after each vaccination. No cases of arthritis resembling RRV disease were reported. The most frequently reported systemic reactions were headache, fatigue, and malaise; the most frequently reported injection site reactions were tenderness and pain. After the third immunization, 91.5% of the younger age group and 76.0% of the older age group achieved neutralizing antibody titers of ≥1:10; 89.1% of the younger age group and 70.9% of the older age group achieved enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) titers of ≥11 PanBio units. A whole-virus Vero cell culture-derived RRV vaccine is well tolerated in an adult population and induces antibody titers associated with protection from RRV disease in the majority of individuals. (This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov under registration no. NCT01242670.)
doi:10.1128/CVI.00546-14
PMCID: PMC4340901  PMID: 25540268
2.  Phase I/II Randomized Double-Blind Study of the Safety and Immunogenicity of a Nonadjuvanted Vero Cell Culture-Derived Whole-Virus H9N2 Influenza Vaccine in Healthy Adults 
Studies on candidate pandemic vaccines against avian influenza viruses have focused on H5N1, but viruses of other subtypes, such as A/H9N2, are also considered to have pandemic potential. We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of two immunizations with one of five different antigen doses (ranging from 3.75 to 45 μg of hemagglutinin antigen) of a nonadjuvanted whole-virus G9 lineage H9N2 influenza virus vaccine in healthy adults aged 18 to 49 years. The antibody responses were measured by hemagglutination inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN), and single radial hemolysis (SRH) assays. To investigate a hypothesis that previous exposure to H2N2 viruses in subjects born in or before 1968 might prime for more robust antibody responses to H9N2 vaccination than that in subjects born after 1968, a post hoc age-stratified analysis of antibody responses was done. Both vaccinations in all dose groups were safe and well tolerated. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported, and the majority of the adverse reactions were rated as mild. The rates of injection site reactions were lower in the 3.75-μg- and 7.5-μg-dose groups than those in the higher-dose groups; the rates of systemic reactions were similar across all dose groups. The seroprotection rates among the different dose groups 21 days after the second immunization ranged from 52.8% to 88.9% as measured by HI assay, from 88.7% to 98.1% or 82.7% to 96.2% as measured by MN assay (MN titer cutoffs, 1:40 and 1:80, respectively), and from 94.2% to 100% as measured by SRH assay. Higher antibody responses were not induced in subjects born in or before 1968. These data indicate that a nonadjuvanted whole-virus H9N2 vaccine is well tolerated and immunogenic in healthy adults. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01320696.)
doi:10.1128/CVI.00275-14
PMCID: PMC4278922  PMID: 25355797
3.  A Novel Multivalent OspA Vaccine against Lyme Borreliosis Is Safe and Immunogenic in an Adult Population Previously Infected with Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2014;21(11):1490-1499.
Lyme borreliosis (LB) patients who recover, as well as previously infected asymptomatic individuals, remain vulnerable to reinfection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. There is limited information available about the use of OspA vaccines in this population. In this study, a randomized double-blind phase I/II trial was performed to investigate the safety and immunogenicity of a novel multivalent OspA vaccine in healthy adults who were either seronegative or seropositive for previous B. burgdorferi sensu lato infection. The participants received three monthly priming immunizations with either 30 μg or 60 μg alum-adjuvanted OspA antigen and a booster vaccination either 6 months or 9 to 12 months after the first immunization. The antibody responses to the six OspA serotypes included in the vaccine were evaluated. Adverse events were predominantly mild and transient and were similar in the seronegative and seropositive populations. Substantial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and surface-binding antibody responses against all six OspA antigens were induced after the primary immunization schedule in both populations, and they were substantially increased with both booster schedules. The antibody responses induced by the two doses were similar in the seronegative population, but there was a significant dose response in the seropositive population. These data indicate that the novel multivalent OspA vaccine is well tolerated and immunogenic in individuals previously infected with B. burgdorferi sensu lato. (This study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01504347.)
doi:10.1128/CVI.00406-14
PMCID: PMC4248771  PMID: 25185574
4.  Safety and Immunogenicity of a Vero Cell Culture-Derived Whole-Virus H5N1 Influenza Vaccine in Chronically Ill and Immunocompromised Patients 
The development of vaccines against H5N1 influenza A viruses is a cornerstone of pandemic preparedness. Clinical trials of H5N1 vaccines have been undertaken in healthy subjects, but studies in risk groups have been lacking. In this study, the immunogenicity and safety of a nonadjuvanted cell culture-derived whole-virus H5N1 vaccine were assessed in chronically ill and immunocompromised adults. Subjects received two priming immunizations with a clade 1 A/Vietnam H5N1 influenza vaccine, and a subset also received a booster immunization with a clade 2.1 A/Indonesia H5N1 vaccine 12 to 24 months later. The antibody responses in the two populations were assessed by virus neutralization and single radial hemolysis assays. The T-cell responses in a subset of immunocompromised patients were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISPOT). The priming and the booster vaccinations were safe and well tolerated in the two risk populations, and adverse reactions were predominantly mild and transient. The priming immunizations induced neutralizing antibody titers of ≥1:20 against the A/Vietnam strain in 64.2% of the chronically ill and 41.5% of the immunocompromised subjects. After the booster vaccination, neutralizing antibody titers of ≥1:20 against the A/Vietnam and A/Indonesia strains were achieved in 77.5% and 70.8%, respectively, of chronically ill subjects and in 71.6% and 67.5%, respectively, of immunocompromised subjects. The T-cell responses against the two H5N1 strains increased significantly over the baseline values. Substantial heterosubtypic T-cell responses were elicited against the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and seasonal A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and B subtypes. There was a significant correlation between T-cell responses and neutralizing antibody titers. These data indicate that nonadjuvanted whole-virus cell culture-derived H5N1 influenza vaccines are suitable for immunizing chronically ill and immunocompromised populations. (This study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00711295.)
doi:10.1128/CVI.00065-14
PMCID: PMC4054238  PMID: 24739978
5.  Neuraminidase-Inhibiting Antibody Response to H5N1 Virus Vaccination in Chronically Ill and Immunocompromised Patients 
Open Forum Infectious Diseases  2014;1(2):ofu072.
Neuraminidase-inhibiting (NAi) antibodies have been reported to be an independent correlate of protection from influenza disease, but the NAi antibody response to influenza vaccination has never been assessed in chronically ill or immunocompromised participants. Using an enzyme-linked lectin assay, we demonstrated that 2 immunizations with a Vero cell culture-derived, whole-virus H5N1 A/Vietnam vaccine induces NAi antibodies in 94.3% of chronically ill and 83.8% of immunocompromised participants. A booster with a heterologous A/Indonesia H5N1 vaccine induced comparable NAi antibody titers in both groups and resulted in 100% seropositivity. These data support prepandemic H5N1 vaccination strategies for these highly vulnerable risk groups.
doi:10.1093/ofid/ofu072
PMCID: PMC4281780  PMID: 25734142
avian influenza; vero cell culture; influenza vaccine; neuraminidase; risk populations
6.  Superior In Vitro Stimulation of Human CD8+ T-Cells by Whole Virus versus Split Virus Influenza Vaccines 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103392.
Pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses cause considerable morbidity and mortality in the general human population. Protection from severe disease may result from vaccines that activate antigen-presenting DC for effective stimulation of influenza-specific memory T cells. Special attention is paid to vaccine-induced CD8+ T-cell responses, because they are mainly directed against conserved internal influenza proteins thereby presumably mediating cross-protection against circulating seasonal as well as emerging pandemic virus strains. Our study showed that influenza whole virus vaccines of major seasonal A and B strains activated DC more efficiently than those of pandemic swine-origin H1N1 and pandemic-like avian H5N1 strains. In contrast, influenza split virus vaccines had a low ability to activate DC, regardless which strain was investigated. We also observed that whole virus vaccines stimulated virus-specific CD8+ memory T cells much stronger compared to split virus counterparts, whereas both vaccine formats activated CD4+ Th cell responses similarly. Moreover, our data showed that whole virus vaccine material is delivered into the cytosolic pathway of DC for effective activation of virus-specific CD8+ T cells. We conclude that vaccines against seasonal and pandemic (-like) influenza strains that aim to stimulate cross-reacting CD8+ T cells should include whole virus rather than split virus formulations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103392
PMCID: PMC4114834  PMID: 25072749
7.  A Cell Culture–Derived Influenza Vaccine Provides Consistent Protection Against Infection and Reduces the Duration and Severity of Disease in Infected Individuals 
A Vero cell culture–derived seasonal influenza vaccine provides consistently high levels of protection against cell culture–confirmed infection over a complete influenza season. Influenza symptoms are also less severe and of shorter duration in individuals who become infected despite vaccination.
Background. Current knowledge of the consistency of protection induced by seasonal influenza vaccines over the duration of a full influenza season is limited, and little is known about the clinical course of disease in individuals who become infected despite vaccination.
Methods. Data from a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial undertaken in healthy young adults in the 2008–2009 influenza season were used to investigate the weekly cumulative efficacy of a Vero cell culture–derived influenza vaccine. In addition, the duration and severity of disease in vaccine and placebo recipients with cell culture–confirmed influenza infection were compared.
Results. Vaccine efficacy against matching strains was consistently high (73%–82%) throughout the study, including the entire period of the influenza season during which influenza activity was above the epidemic threshold. Vaccine efficacy was also consistent (68%–83%) when calculated for all strains, irrespective of antigenic match. Vaccination also ameliorated disease symptoms when infection was not prevented. Bivariate analysis of duration and severity showed a significant amelioration of myalgia (P = .003), headache (P = .025), and fatigue (P = .013) in infected vaccinated subjects compared with placebo. Cough (P = .143) and oropharyngeal pain (P = .083) were also reduced in infected vaccinated subjects.
Conclusions. A Vero cell culture–derived influenza vaccine provides consistently high levels of protection against cell culture–confirmed infection by seasonal influenza virus and significantly reduces the duration and severity of disease in those individuals in which infection is not prevented.
Clinical Trials Registration. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00566345.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir959
PMCID: PMC3297649  PMID: 22267715

Results 1-7 (7)