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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-017-2354-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
H1/IC31® is a tuberculosis (TB) subunit vaccine candidate consisting of the fusion protein of Ag85B and ESAT-6 (H1) formulated with the IC31® adjuvant. Previous trials have reported on the H1/IC31® vaccine in M. tuberculosis (Mtb)-naïve, BCG-vaccinated and previously Mtb-infected individuals. In this trial, conducted between December 2008 and April 2010, the safety and immunogenicity of H1/IC31® was assessed in participants living in Ethiopia – a highly TB-endemic area.
Healthy male participants aged 18–25 years were recruited into four groups. Participants in group 1 (N = 12) and group 2 (N = 12) were Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) negative and QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube test (QFT) negative (Mtb-naïve groups), participants in group 3 (N = 3) were TST positive and QFT negative (BCG group), and participants in group 4 (N = 12) were both TST and QFT positive (Mtb-infected group). H1 vaccine alone (group 1) or H1 formulated with the adjuvant IC31® (groups 2, 3 and 4) was administered intramuscularly on day 0 and day 56. Safety and immunogenicity parameters were evaluated for up to 32 weeks after day 0.
The H1/IC31®vaccine was safe and generally well tolerated. There was little difference among the four groups, with a tendency towards a higher incidence of adverse events in Mtb-infected compared to Mtb-naïve participants. Two serious adverse events were reported in the Mtb-infected group where a relationship to the vaccine could not be excluded. In both cases the participants recovered without sequelae within 72 h. Immunogenicity assays, evaluated in the 29 participants who received both vaccinations, showed a stronger response to TB antigens in the Mtb-naïve group vaccinated with the adjuvant.
The trial confirmed the need for an adjuvant for the vaccine to be immunogenic and highlighted the importance of early phase testing of a novel TB vaccine candidate in TB-endemic areas.
ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT01049282. Retrospectively registered on 14 January 2010.