Background: The RTS,S/AS01E malaria candidate vaccine is being developed for immunization of African infants through the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI).
Methods: This phase 2, randomized, open, controlled trial conducted in Ghana, Tanzania, and Gabon evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of RTS,S/AS01E when coadministered with EPI vaccines. Five hundred eleven infants were randomized to receive RTS,S/AS01E at 0, 1, and 2 months (in 3 doses with diphtheria, tetanus, and whole-cell pertussis conjugate [DTPw]; hepatitis B [HepB]; Haemophilus influenzae type b [Hib]; and oral polio vaccine [OPV]), RTS,S/AS01E at 0, 1, and 7 months (2 doses with DTPwHepB/Hib+OPV and 1 dose with measles and yellow fever), or EPI vaccines only.
Results: The occurrences of serious adverse events were balanced across groups; none were vaccine-related. One child from the control group died. Mild to moderate fever and diaper dermatitis occurred more frequently in the RTS,S/AS01E coadministration groups. RTS,S/AS01E generated high anti-circumsporozoite protein and anti-hepatitis B surface antigen antibody levels. Regarding EPI vaccine responses upon coadministration when considering both immunization schedules, despite a tendency toward lower geometric mean titers to some EPI antigens, predefined noninferiority criteria were met for all EPI antigens except for polio 3 when EPI vaccines were given with RTS,S/AS01E at 0, 1, and 2 months. However, when antibody levels at screening were taken into account, the rates of response to polio 3 antigens were comparable between groups.
Conclusion: RTS,S/AS01E integrated in the EPI showed a favorable safety and immunogenicity evaluation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00436007. GlaxoSmithKline study ID number: 106369 (Malaria-050).