Methods & Principal Findings: In this Phase II, double-blind study (NCT00307021), 180 healthy Gabonese children aged 18 months to 4 years were randomized to receive either RTS,S/AS01E or RTS,S/AS02D, on a 0–1–2 month vaccination schedule. The children were followed-up daily for six days after each vaccination and monthly for 14 months. Blood samples were collected at 4 time-points. Both vaccines were well tolerated. Safety parameters were distributed similarly between the two groups. Both vaccines elicited a strong specific immune response after Doses 2 and 3 with a ratio of anti-CS GMT titers (AS02D/AS01E) of 0.88 (95% CI: 0.68–1.15) post-Dose 3. After Doses 2 and 3 of experimental vaccines, anti-CS and anti-HBs antibody GMTs were higher in children who had been previously vaccinated with at least one dose of hepatitis B vaccine compared to those not previously vaccinated.
Conclusions: RTS,S/AS01E proved similarly as well tolerated and immunogenic as RTS,S/AS02D, completing an essential step in the age de-escalation process within the RTS,S clinical development plan.