Papers of the Month – 2019

December, 2019

Science. 2019 Nov 1;366(6465):599-606.  PMID: 31672891

Mina MJ, Kula T, Leng Y, Li M, de Vries RD, Knip M, Siljander H, Rewers M, Choy DF, Wilson MS, Larman HB, Nelson AN, Griffin DE, de Swart RL, Elledge SJ

Measles virus is directly responsible for more than 100,000 deaths yearly. Epidemiological studies have associated measles with increased morbidity and mortality for years after infection, but the reasons why are poorly understood. Measles virus infects immune cells, causing acute immune suppression. To identify and quantify long-term effects of measles on the immune system, we used VirScan, an assay that tracks antibodies to thousands of pathogen epitopes in blood. We studied 77 unvaccinated children before and 2 months after natural measles virus infection. Measles caused elimination of 11 to 73% of the antibody repertoire across individuals. Recovery of antibodies was detected after natural reexposure to pathogens. Notably, these immune system effects were not observed in infants vaccinated against MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), but were confirmed in measles-infected macaques. The reduction in humoral immune memory after measles infection generates potential vulnerability to future infections, underscoring the need for widespread vaccination.


November, 2019

Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Oct 17. pii: S1473-3099(19)30393-7. PMID: 31630990

Bernstein DI, Guptill J, Naficy A, Nachbagauer R, Berlanda-Scorza F, Feser J, Wilson PC, Solórzano A, Van der Wielen M, Walter EB, Albrecht RA, Buschle KN, Chen YQ, Claeys C, Dickey M, Dugan HL, Ermler ME, Freeman D, Gao M, Gast C, Guthmiller JJ, Hai R, Henry C, Lan LY, McNeal M, Palm AE, Shaw DG, Stamper CT, Sun W, Sutton V, Tepora ME, Wahid R, Wenzel H, Wohlbold TJ, Innis BL, García-Sastre A, Palese P, Krammer F

Background: Influenza viruses cause substantial annual morbidity and mortality globally. Current vaccines protect against influenza only when well matched to the circulating strains. However, antigenic drift can cause considerable mismatches between vaccine and circulating strains, substantially reducing vaccine effectiveness. Moreover, current seasonal vaccines are ineffective against pandemic influenza, and production of a vaccine matched to a newly emerging virus strain takes months. Therefore, there is an unmet medical need for a broadly protective influenza virus vaccine. We aimed to test the ability of chimeric H1 haemagglutinin-based universal influenza virus vaccine candidates to induce broadly cross-reactive antibodies targeting the stalk domain of group 1 haemagglutinin-expressing influenza viruses.

Methods: We did a randomised, observer-blinded, phase 1 study in healthy adults in two centres in the USA. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three prime-boost, chimeric haemagglutinin-based vaccine regimens or one of two placebo groups. The vaccine regimens included a chimeric H8/1, intranasal, live-attenuated vaccine on day 1 followed by a non-adjuvanted, chimeric H5/1, intramuscular, inactivated vaccine on day 85; the same regimen but with the inactivated vaccine being adjuvanted with AS03; and an AS03-adjuvanted, chimeric H8/1, intramuscular, inactivated vaccine followed by an AS03-adjuvanted, chimeric H5/1, intramuscular, inactivated vaccine. In this planned interim analysis, the primary endpoints of reactogenicity and safety were assessed by blinded study group. We also assessed anti-H1 haemagglutinin stalk, anti-H2, anti-H9, and anti-H18 IgG antibody titres and plasmablast and memory B-cell responses in peripheral blood. This trial is registered with, number NCT03300050.

Findings: Between Oct 10, 2017, and Nov 27, 2017, 65 participants were enrolled and randomly assigned. The adjuvanted inactivated vaccine, but not the live-attenuated vaccine, induced a substantial serum IgG antibody response after the prime immunisation, with a seven times increase in anti-H1 stalk antibody titres on day 29. After boost immunisation, all vaccine regimens induced detectable anti-H1 stalk antibody (2·2-5·6 times induction over baseline), cross-reactive serum IgG antibody, and peripheral blood plasmablast responses. An unsolicited adverse event was reported for 29 (48%) of 61 participants. Solicited local adverse events were reported in 12 (48%) of 25 participants following prime vaccination with intramuscular study product or placebo, in 12 (33%) of 36 after prime immunisation with intranasal study product or placebo, and in 18 (32%) of 56 following booster doses of study product or placebo. Solicited systemic adverse events were reported in 14 (56%) of 25 after prime immunisation with intramuscular study product or placebo, in 22 (61%) of 36 after immunisation with intranasal study product or placebo, and in 21 (38%) of 56 after booster doses of study product or placebo. Disaggregated safety data were not available at the time of this interim analysis.

Interpretation: The tested chimeric haemagglutinin-based, universal influenza virus vaccine regimens elicited cross-reactive serum IgG antibodies that targeted the conserved haemagglutinin stalk domain. This is the first proof-of-principle study to show that high anti-stalk titres can be induced by a rationally designed vaccine in humans and opens up avenues for further development of universal influenza virus vaccines. On the basis of the blinded study group, the vaccine regimens were tolerable and no safety concerns were observed.

Findings: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

October, 2019

Sci Transl Med. 2019 Oct 2;11(512). pii: eaaw3163. PMID: 31578242

Mateo M, Reynard S, Carnec X, Journeaux A, Baillet N, Schaeffer J, Picard C, Legras-Lachuer C, Allan R, Perthame E, Hillion KH, Pietrosemoli N, Dillies MA, Barrot L, Vallve A, Barron S, Fellmann L, Gaillard JC, Armengaud J, Carbonnelle C, Raoul H, Tangy F, Baize S

Lassa fever is a major threat in Western Africa. The large number of people living at risk for this disease calls for the development of a vaccine against Lassa virus (LASV). We generated live-attenuated LASV vaccines based on measles virus and Mopeia virus platforms and expressing different LASV antigens, with the aim to develop a vaccine able to protect after a single shot. We compared the efficacy of these vaccines against LASV in cynomolgus monkeys. The vaccines were well tolerated and protected the animals from LASV infection and disease after a single immunization but with varying efficacy. Analysis of the immune responses showed that complete protection was associated with robust secondary T cell and antibody responses against LASV. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses showed an early activation of innate immunity and T cell priming after immunization with the most effective vaccines, with changes detectable as early as 2 days after immunization. The most efficacious vaccine candidate, a measles vector simultaneously expressing LASV glycoprotein and nucleoprotein, has been selected for further clinical evaluation.

September, 2019

Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Sep;19(9):988-1000. PMID: 31399377


Dagnew AF, Ilhan O, Lee WS, Woszczyk D, Kwak JY, Bowcock S, Sohn SK, Rodriguez Macías G, Chiou TJ, Quiel D, Aoun M, Navarro Matilla MB, de la Serna J, Milliken S, Murphy J, McNeil SA, Salaun B, Di Paolo E, Campora L, López-Fauqued M, El Idrissi M, Schuind A, Heineman TC, Van den Steen P, Oostvogels L; Zoster-039 study group

Background: The adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine (Shingrix) can prevent herpes zoster in older adults and autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. We evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of this vaccine in adults with haematological malignancies receiving immunosuppressive cancer treatments.

Methods: In this phase 3, randomised, observer-blind, placebo-controlled study, done at 77 centres worldwide, we randomly assigned (1:1) patients with haematological malignancies aged 18 years and older to receive two doses of the adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine or placebo 1-2 months apart during or after immunosuppressive cancer treatments, and stratified participants according to their underlying diseases. The co-primary objectives of the study were the evaluation of safety and reactogenicity of the adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine compared with placebo from the first vaccination up to 30 days after last vaccination in all participants; evaluation of the proportion of participants with a vaccine response in terms of anti-glycoprotein E humoral immune response to the adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine at month 2 in all participants, excluding those with non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; and evaluation of the anti-glycoprotein E humoral immune responses to the vaccine compared with placebo at month 2 in all participants, excluding those with non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. We assessed immunogenicity in the per-protocol cohort for immunogenicity and safety in the total vaccinated cohort. The study is registered with, number NCT01767467, and with the EU Clinical Trials Register, number 2012-003438-18.

Findings: Between March 1, 2013, and Sept 10, 2015, we randomly assigned 286 participants to adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine and 283 to placebo. 283 in the vaccine group and 279 in the placebo group were vaccinated. At month 2, 119 (80·4%, 95% CI 73·1-86·5) of 148 participants had a humoral vaccine response to adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine, compared with one (0·8%, 0·0-4·2) of 130 participants in the placebo group, and the adjusted geometric mean anti-glycoprotein E antibody concentration was 23 132·9 mIU/mL (95% CI 16 642·8-32 153·9) in the vaccine group and 777·6 mIU/mL (702·8-860·3) in the placebo group (adjusted geometric mean ratio 29·75, 21·09-41·96; p<0·0001) in all patients, excluding those with non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses persisted above baseline until month 13 in all strata and, as expected, vaccine was more reactogenic than placebo (within 7 days after vaccination pain was reported by 221 [79·5%] of 278 vaccine group participants and 45 [16·4%] of 274 placebo group participants; fatigue was reported by 162 [58·3%] of 278 vaccine group participants and 102 [37·2%] of 274 placebo group participants). Incidences of unsolicited or serious adverse events, potential immune-mediated diseases, disease-related events, and fatal serious adverse events were similar between the groups.

Interpretation: The immunocompromised adult population with haematological malignancies is at high risk for herpes zoster. The adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine, which is currently licensed in certain countries for adults aged 50 years and older, is likely to benefit this population.

Safety and efficacy of inactivated varicella zoster virus vaccine in immunocompromised patients with malignancies: a two-arm, randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial

Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Sep;19(9):1001-1012. PMID: 31399378

Mullane KM, Morrison VA, Camacho LH, Arvin A, McNeil SA, Durrand J, Campbell B, Su SC, Chan ISF, Parrino J, Kaplan SS, Popmihajlov Z, Annunziato PW; V212 Protocol 011 Trial Team

Background: Patients who are immunocompromised because of malignancy have an increased risk of herpes zoster and herpes zoster-related complications. We aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of an inactivated varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine for herpes zoster prevention in patients with solid tumour or haematological malignancies.

Methods: This phase 3, two-arm, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial with an adaptive design was done in 329 centres across 40 countries. The trial included adult patients with solid tumour malignancies receiving chemotherapy and those with haematological malignancies, either receiving or not receiving chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive four doses of VZV vaccine inactivated by γ irradiation or placebo approximately 30 days apart. The patients, investigators, trial site staff, clinical adjudication committee, and sponsor’s clinical and laboratory personnel were masked to the group assignment. The primary efficacy endpoint was herpes zoster incidence in patients with solid tumour malignancies receiving chemotherapy, which was assessed in the modified intention-to-treat population (defined as all randomly assigned patients who received at least one dose of inactivated VZV vaccine or placebo). The primary safety endpoint was serious adverse events up to 28 days after the fourth dose in patients with solid tumour malignancies receiving chemotherapy. Safety endpoints were assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of inactivated VZV vaccine or placebo and had follow-up data. This trial is registered (NCT01254630 and EudraCT 2010-023156-89).

Findings: Between June 27, 2011, and April 11, 2017, 5286 patients were randomly assigned to receive VZV vaccine inactivated by γ irradiation (n=2637) or placebo (n=2649). The haematological malignancy arm was terminated early because of evidence of futility at a planned interim analysis; therefore, all prespecified haematological malignancy endpoints were deemed exploratory. In patients with solid tumour malignancies in the modified intention-to-treat population, confirmed herpes zoster occurred in 22 of 1328 (6·7 per 1000 person-years) VZV vaccine recipients and in 61 of 1350 (18·5 per 1000 person-years) placebo recipients. Estimated vaccine efficacy against herpes zoster in patients with solid tumour malignancies was 63·6% (97·5% CI 36·4 to 79·1), meeting the prespecified success criterion. In patients with solid tumour malignancies, serious adverse events were similar in frequency across treatment groups, occurring in 298 (22·5%) of 1322 patients who received the vaccine and in 283 (21·0%) of 1346 patients who received placebo (risk difference 1·5%, 95% CI -1·7 to 4·6). Vaccine-related serious adverse events were less than 1% in each treatment group. Vaccine-related injection-site reactions were more common in the vaccine group than in the placebo group. In the haematological malignancy group, VZV vaccine was well tolerated and estimated vaccine efficacy against herpes zoster was 16·8% (95% CI -17·8 to 41·3).

Interpretation: The inactivated VZV vaccine was well tolerated and efficacious for herpes zoster prevention in patients with solid tumour malignancies receiving chemotherapy, but was not efficacious for herpes zoster prevention in patients with haematological malignancies.

August, 2019

Science. 2019 Aug 2;365(6452):505-509. doi: 10.1126/science.aav9033. PMID:31371616.

Crank MC, Ruckwardt TJ, Chen M, Morabito KM, Phung E, Costner PJ, Holman LA, Hickman SP, Berkowitz NM, Gordon IJ, Yamshchikov GV, Gaudinski MR, Kumar A, Chang LA, Moin SM, Hill JP, DiPiazza AT, Schwartz RM, Kueltzo L, Cooper JW, Chen P, Stein JA, Carlton K, Gall JG, Nason MC, Kwong PD, Chen GL, Mascola JR, McLellan JS, Ledgerwood JE, Graham BS; VRC 317 Study Team

Technologies that define the atomic-level structure of neutralization-sensitive epitopes on viral surface proteins are transforming vaccinology and guiding new vaccine development approaches. Previously, iterative rounds of protein engineering were performed to preserve the prefusion conformation of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) fusion (F) glycoprotein, resulting in a stabilized subunit vaccine candidate (DS-Cav1), which showed promising results in mice and macaques. Here, phase I human immunogenicity data reveal a more than 10-fold boost in neutralizing activity in serum from antibodies targeting prefusion-specific surfaces of RSV F. These findings represent a clinical proof of concept for structure-based vaccine design, suggest that development of a successful RSV vaccine will be feasible, and portend an era of precision vaccinology.

July, 2019

Lancet. 2019 Jun 26. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30298-3.  PMID: 31255301.

Mélanie Drolet, Élodie Bénard, Norma Pérez, Marc Brisson on behalf of the HPV Vaccination Impact Study Group

More than 10 years have elapsed since human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination was implemented. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of the population-level impact of vaccinating girls and women against human papillomavirus on HPV infections, anogenital wart diagnoses, and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ (CIN2+) to summarise the most recent evidence about the effectiveness of HPV vaccines in real-world settings and to quantify the impact of multiple age-cohort vaccination.

In this updated systematic review and meta-analysis, we used the same search strategy as in our previous paper. We searched MEDLINE and Embase for studies published between Feb 1, 2014, and Oct 11, 2018. Studies were eligible if they compared the frequency (prevalence or incidence) of at least one HPV-related endpoint (genital HPV infections, anogenital wart diagnoses, or histologically confirmed CIN2+) between pre-vaccination and post-vaccination periods among the general population and if they used the same population sources and recruitment methods before and after vaccination. Our primary assessment was the relative risk (RR) comparing the frequency (prevalence or incidence) of HPV-related endpoints between the pre-vaccination and post-vaccination periods. We stratified all analyses by sex, age, and years since introduction of HPV vaccination. We used random-effects models to estimate pooled relative risks.

We identified 1702 potentially eligible articles for this systematic review and meta-analysis, and included 65 articles in 14 high-income countries: 23 for HPV infection, 29 for anogenital warts, and 13 for CIN2+. After 5–8 years of vaccination, the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18 decreased significantly by 83% (RR 0·17, 95% CI 0·11–0·25) among girls aged 13–19 years, and decreased significantly by 66% (RR 0·34, 95% CI 0·23–0·49) among women aged 20–24 years. The prevalence of HPV 31, 33, and 45 decreased significantly by 54% (RR 0·46, 95% CI 0·33–0·66) among girls aged 13–19 years. Anogenital wart diagnoses decreased significantly by 67% (RR 0·33, 95% CI 0·24–0·46) among girls aged 15–19 years, decreased significantly by 54% (RR 0·46, 95% CI 0.36–0.60) among women aged 20–24 years, and decreased significantly by 31% (RR 0·69, 95% CI 0·53–0·89) among women aged 25–29 years. Among boys aged 15–19 years anogenital wart diagnoses decreased significantly by 48% (RR 0·52, 95% CI 0·37–0·75) and among men aged 20–24 years they decreased significantly by 32% (RR 0·68, 95% CI 0·47–0·98). After 5–9 years of vaccination, CIN2+ decreased significantly by 51% (RR 0·49, 95% CI 0·42–0·58) among screened girls aged 15–19 years and decreased significantly by 31% (RR 0·69, 95% CI 0·57–0·84) among women aged 20–24 years.

This updated systematic review and meta-analysis includes data from 60 million individuals and up to 8 years of post-vaccination follow-up. Our results show compelling evidence of the substantial impact of HPV vaccination programmes on HPV infections and CIN2+ among girls and women, and on anogenital warts diagnoses among girls, women, boys, and men. Additionally, programmes with multi-cohort vaccination and high vaccination coverage had a greater direct impact and herd effects.

WHO, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

June, 2019

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January, 2019

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