Publications by authors named "Alessandra Anemona"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Safety Profile and Immunologic Responses of a Novel Vaccine Against Shigella sonnei Administered Intramuscularly, Intradermally and Intranasally: Results From Two Parallel Randomized Phase 1 Clinical Studies in Healthy Adult Volunteers in Europe.

EBioMedicine 2017 Aug 15;22:164-172. Epub 2017 Jul 15.

GSK Vaccines Institute for Global Health, Siena, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Approximately 164,000 deaths yearly are due to shigellosis, primarily in developing countries. Thus, a safe and affordable Shigella vaccine is an important public health priority. The GSK Vaccines Institute for Global Health (GVGH) developed a candidate Shigella sonnei vaccine (1790GAHB) using the Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) technology. The paper reports results of 1790GAHB Phase 1 studies in healthy European adults.

Methods: To evaluate the safety and immunogenicity profiles of 1790GAHB, we performed two parallel, phase 1, observer-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, dose escalation studies in France ("study 1") and the United Kingdom ("study 2") between February 2014 and April 2015 (ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02017899 and NCT02034500, respectively) in 18-45years old subjects (50 in study 1, 52 in study 2). Increasing doses of Alhydrogel adsorbed 1790, expressed by both O Antigen (OAg) and protein quantity, or placebo were given either by intramuscular route (0.059/1, 0.29/5, 1.5/25, 2.9/50, 5.9/100μg of OAg/μg of protein; study 1) or by intradermal (ID), intranasal (IN) or intramuscular (IM) route of immunization (0.0059/0.1, 0.059/1, 0.59/10μg ID, 0.29/5, 1.2/20, 4.8/80μg IN and 0.29/5μg IM, respectively; study 2). In absence of serologic correlates of protection for Shigella sonnei, vaccine induced immunogenicity was compared to anti-LPS antibody in a population naturally exposed to S. sonnei.

Findings: Vaccines were well tolerated in both studies and no death or vaccine related serious adverse events were reported. In study 1, doses ≥1.5/25μg elicited serum IgG median antibody greater than median level in convalescent subjects after the first dose. No vaccine group in study 2 achieved median antibody greater than the median convalescent antibody.

Interpretation: Intramuscularly administered Shigella sonnei GMMA vaccine is well tolerated, up to and including 5.9/100μg and induces antibody to the OAg of at least the same magnitude of those observed following natural exposure to the pathogen. Vaccine administered by ID or IN, although well tolerated, is poorly immunogenic at the doses delivered. The data support the use of the GMMA technology for the development of intramuscular multivalent Shigella vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.07.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5552227PMC
August 2017

Neutropenia as an Adverse Event following Vaccination: Results from Randomized Clinical Trials in Healthy Adults and Systematic Review.

PLoS One 2016 4;11(8):e0157385. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health, Siena, Italy.

Background: In the context of early vaccine trials aimed at evaluating the safety profile of novel vaccines, abnormal haematological values, such as neutropenia, are often reported. It is therefore important to evaluate how these trials should be planned not to miss potentially important safety signals, but also to understand the implications and the clinical relevance.

Methodology: We report and discuss the results from five clinical trials (two with a new Shigella vaccine in the early stage of clinical development and three with licensed vaccines) where the absolute neutrophil counts (ANC) were evaluated before and after vaccination. Additionally, we have performed a systematic review of the literature on cases of neutropenia reported during vaccine trials to discuss our results in a more general context.

Principal Findings: Both in our clinical trials and in the literature review, several cases of neutropenia have been reported, in the first two weeks after vaccination. However, neutropenia was generally transient and had a benign clinical outcome, after vaccination with either multiple novel candidates or well-known licensed vaccines. Additionally, the vaccine recipients with neutropenia frequently had lower baseline ANC than non-neutropenic vaccinees. In many instances neutropenia occurred in subjects of African descent, known to have lower ANC compared to western populations.

Conclusions: It is important to include ANC and other haematological tests in early vaccine trials to identify potential safety signals. Post-vaccination neutropenia is not uncommon, generally transient and clinically benign, but many vaccine trials do not have a sampling schedule that allows its detection. Given ethnic variability in the level of circulating neutrophils, normal ranges taking into account ethnicity should be used for determination of trial inclusion/exclusion criteria and classification of neutropenia related adverse events.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02017899, NCT02034500, NCT01771367, NCT01765413, NCT02523287.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0157385PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4974007PMC
August 2017

Immunogenicity and safety of the Vi-CRM197 conjugate vaccine against typhoid fever in adults, children, and infants in south and southeast Asia: results from two randomised, observer-blind, age de-escalation, phase 2 trials.

Lancet Infect Dis 2014 Feb 28;14(2):119-29. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health, Siena, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Typhoid vaccination is a public health priority in developing countries where young children are greatly affected by typhoid fever. Because present vaccines are not recommended for children younger than 2 years, the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health developed a conjugate vaccine (Vi-CRM197) for infant immunisation. We aimed to assess the immunogenicity and safety of Vi-CRM197 in participants of various ages in endemic countries in south and southeast Asia.

Methods: We did two randomised, observer-blind, age de-escalation, phase 2 trials at two sites in Pakistan and India (study A), and at one site in the Philippines (study B), between March 2, 2011, and Aug 9, 2012. Adults aged 18-45 years, children aged 24-59 months, older infants aged 9-12 months, and infants aged 6-8 weeks were randomly assigned (1:1) with a computer-generated randomisation list (block size of four) to receive either 5 μg Vi-CRM197 or 25 μg Vi-polysaccharide vaccine (or 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in children younger than 2 years). Both infant populations received Vi-CRM197 concomitantly with vaccines of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), according to WHO schedule. With the exception of designated study site personnel responsible for vaccine preparation, study investigators, those assessing outcomes, and data analysts were masked to treatment allocation. We specified no a-priori null hypothesis for the immunogenicity or safety objectives and all analyses were descriptive. Analyses were by modified intention-to-treat. These studies are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT01229176 and NCT01437267.

Findings: 320 participants were enrolled and vaccinated in the two trials: 200 in study A (all age groups) and 120 in study B (children and infants only), of whom 317 (99%) were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis. One dose of Vi-CRM197 significantly increased concentrations of anti-Vi antibody in adults (from 113 U/mL [95% CI 67-190] to 208 U/mL [117-369]), children (201 U/mL [138-294] to 368 U/mL [234-580]), and older infants (179 U/mL [129-250] to 249 U/mL [130-477]). However, in children and older infants, a second dose of conjugate vaccine had no incremental effect on antibody titres and, at all ages, concentrations of antibodies increased substantially 6 months after vaccination (from 55 U/mL [33-94] to 63 U/mL [35-114] in adults, from 23 U/mL [15-34] to 51 U/mL [34-76] in children, and from 21 U/mL [14-31] to 22 U/mL [14-33] in older infants). Immune response in infants aged 6-8 weeks was lower than that in older participants and, 6 months after third vaccination, antibody concentrations were significantly higher than pre-vaccination concentrations in Filipino (21 U/mL [16-28] vs 2.88 U/mL [1.95-4.25]), but not Pakistani (3.76 U/mL [2.77-5.08] vs 2.77 U/mL [2.1-3.66]), infants. Vi-CRM197 was safe and well tolerated and did not induce any significant interference with EPI vaccines. No deaths or vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported throughout the studies.

Interpretation: Vi-CRM197 is safe and immunogenic in endemic populations of all ages. Given at 9 months of age, concomitantly with measles vaccine, Vi-CRM197 shows a promise for potential inclusion in EPI schedules of countries endemic for typhoid. An apparent absence of booster response and a reduction in antibody titres 6 months after immunisation should be further investigated, but data show that an immunogenic typhoid vaccine can be safely delivered to infants during EPI visits recommended by WHO.

Funding: Sclavo Vaccines Association and Regione Toscana.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70241-XDOI Listing
February 2014

Safety, immunogenicity and dose ranging of a new Vi-CRM₁₉₇ conjugate vaccine against typhoid fever: randomized clinical testing in healthy adults.

PLoS One 2011 30;6(9):e25398. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Center for the Evaluation of Vaccination, Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: Typhoid fever causes more than 21 million cases of disease and 200,000 deaths yearly worldwide, with more than 90% of the disease burden being reported from Asia. Epidemiological data show high disease incidence in young children and suggest that immunization programs should target children below two years of age: this is not possible with available vaccines. The Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health developed a conjugate vaccine (Vi-CRM₁₉₇) for infant vaccination concomitantly with EPI vaccines, either starting at 6 weeks with DTP or at 9 months with measles vaccine. We report the results from a Phase 1 and a Phase 2 dose ranging trial with Vi-CRM₁₉₇ in European adults.

Methodology: Following randomized blinded comparison of single vaccination with either Vi-CRM₁₉₇ or licensed polysaccharide vaccines (both containing 25·0 µg of Vi antigen), a randomised observer blinded dose ranging trial was performed in the same center to compare three concentrations of Vi-CRM₁₉₇ (1·25 µg, 5·0 µg and 12·5 µg of Vi antigen) with the polysaccharide vaccine.

Principal Findings: All vaccines were well tolerated. Compared to the polysaccharide vaccine, Vi-CRM₁₉₇ induced a higher incidence of mild to moderate short lasting local pain. All Vi-CRM₁₉₇ formulations induced higher Vi antibody levels compared to licensed control, with clear dose response relationship.

Conclusions: Vi-CRM₁₉₇ did not elicit safety concerns, was highly immunogenic and is therefore suitable for further clinical testing in endemic populations of South Asia.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01123941 NCT01193907.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0025398PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184126PMC
January 2012

Persistence of immune responses after a single dose of Novartis meningococcal serogroup A, C, W-135 and Y CRM-197 conjugate vaccine (Menveo®) or Menactra® among healthy adolescents.

Hum Vaccin 2010 Nov 1;6(11):881-7. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Cambridge, MA, USA.

The persistence of human bactericidal activity (hSBA) responses in adolescents was assessed 22 months after vaccination with one dose of Menveo® (MenACWY-CRM; Novartis) or Menactra® (MCV4) (sanofi pasteur). The proportion of subjects with hSBA titers ≥8 was significantly higher among recipients of MenACWY-CRM than MCV4 for serogroups A, W-135 and Y.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060384PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/hv.6.11.12849DOI Listing
November 2010

Randomized trial on the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of MenACWY-CRM, an investigational quadrivalent meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine, administered concomitantly with a combined tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine in adolescents and young adults.

Clin Vaccine Immunol 2010 Apr 17;17(4):537-44. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Via Pastore 1, 16132 Genoa, Italy.

This study evaluated the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of an investigational quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenACWY-CRM, when administered concomitantly with a combined tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, in subjects aged 11 to 25 years. Subjects received either MenACWY-CRM and Tdap, MenACWY-CRM and saline placebo, or Tdap and saline placebo. No significant increase in reactogenicity and no clinically significant vaccine-related adverse events (AEs) occurred when MenACWY-CRM and Tdap were administered concomitantly. Similar immunogenic responses to diphtheria, tetanus, and meningococcal (serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y) antigens were observed, regardless of concomitant vaccine administration. Antipertussis antibody responses were comparable between vaccine groups for filamentous hemagglutinin and were slightly lower, although not clinically significantly, for pertussis toxoid and pertactin when the two vaccines were administered concomitantly. These results indicate that the investigational MenACWY-CRM vaccine is well tolerated and immunogenic and that it can be coadministered with Tdap to adolescents and young adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/CVI.00436-09DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849330PMC
April 2010

Immunogenicity and immune memory of a nonadjuvanted quadrivalent meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine in infants.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2009 Mar;28(3):186-93

Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Centre for Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK.

Background: The highest rate of invasive meningococcal disease is among children under 2 years of age. There is currently no licensed quadrivalent (serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y) meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine approved for infants. We evaluated the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of a novel quadrivalent nonadjuvanted meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine (MenACWY-CRM) in healthy infants.

Methods: One hundred eighty infants (90 in Canada and 90 in the United Kingdom) received 2 doses of MenACWY-CRM at 2 and 4 months of age administered concomitantly with routine infant vaccines. At 12 months of age, the Canadian infants received either MenACWY-CRM or a reduced dose of a licensed meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine. In the United Kingdom, all infants received a further dose of MenACWY-CRM. The serological marker of protection was a titer of > or =1:4 using a serum bactericidal assay with human complement (hSBA).

Results: Two doses of MenACWY-CRM induced hSBA titers > or =1:4 in 57% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 45-67) and 50% (95% CI: 38-62) of infants against serogroup A in Canada and the United Kingdom, respectively, 93% (95% CI: 85-97) and 86% (95% CI: 46-93) against serogroup C, 95% (95% CI: 87-99) and 82% (95% CI: 71-90) against serogroup W-135, and 91% (95% CI: 82-96) and 74% (95% CI: 63-83) against serogroup Y. After a booster dose of MenACWY-CRM at 12 months, at least 94% of participants achieved hSBA titers > or =1:4 against each of the serogroups C, W-135, and Y and more than 79% against serogroup A. The vaccine was well tolerated.

Conclusions: The nonadjuvanted MenACWY-CRM is immunogenic and well tolerated in infancy and could provide broad protection against meningococcal disease in this vulnerable age group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0b013e31818e037dDOI Listing
March 2009

A randomized trial to determine the tolerability and immunogenicity of a quadrivalent meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine in healthy adolescents.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2009 Feb;28(2):86-91

Group Health Center for Health Studies, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: Because of the well-documented increased risk of meningococcal disease among adolescents, vaccination is recommended for this population in many countries, including the United States. This study compared the tolerability and immunogenicity in adolescents of a candidate quadrivalent meningococcal CRM197 glycoconjugate vaccine against serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y (MenACWY-CRM) with that of the licensed unconjugated quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4).

Methods: This phase II study was conducted in the United States among 524 adolescents aged 11-17 years in 2 stages, with different randomization schemes. The first 334 participants, enrolled in Stage 1, were randomized (1:1) to receive either MenACWY-CRM(+) (with adjuvant) or MPSV4. The next 190 participants, enrolled in Stage 2, were randomized (4:1) to receive either MenACWY-CRM(-) (without adjuvant) or MPSV4. Safety data were collected using diary cards and active surveillance. Human complement serum bactericidal activity (hSBA) titers were measured 1 and 12 months postvaccination.

Results: MenACWY-CRM and MPSV4 vaccines were well tolerated (local reactions, 63%-71% vs. 60%-62%; systemic reactions, 44%-56% vs. 46%-59%, respectively). One month postvaccination, similar hSBA titers were observed with the adjuvanted and nonadjuvanted MenACWY-CRM. The immunogenicity of MenACWY-CRM(-), measured by geometric mean titer, was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than that of MPSV4 for all 4 vaccine serogroups at 1 month. The percentage of subjects with hSBA titers > or =1:4 was also significantly greater (P < 0.01) for MenACWY-CRM(-) recipients for serogroups A, C, and Y and noninferior for W-135. The proportions of MenACWY-CRM(-) recipients with hSBA titers > or =1:4 to the vaccine serogroups at 1 month were 84% to 96% and geometric mean titers were 34 to 100. The percentage of subjects with hSBA titers > or =1:4 was significantly (P < 0.01) greater than MPSV4 for serogroups C, W-135, and Y 12 months postvaccination.

Conclusions: MenACWY-CRM was well tolerated and immunogenic, with evidence of persistence of bactericidal antibodies for at least 12 months postvaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0b013e31818a0237DOI Listing
February 2009

Sample size for equivalence trials: a case study from a vaccine lot consistency trial.

Stat Med 2008 Aug;27(19):3743-54

Amgen Inc., 1120 Veterans Blvd., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.

For some trials, simple but subtle assumptions can have a profound impact on the size of the trial. A case in point is a vaccine lot consistency (or equivalence) trial. Standard sample size formulas used for designing lot consistency trials rely on only one component of variation, namely, the variation in antibody titers within lots. The other component, the variation in the means of titers between lots, is assumed to be equal to zero. In reality, some amount of variation between lots, however small, will be present even under the best manufacturing practices. Using data from a published lot consistency trial, we demonstrate that when the between-lot variation is only 0.5 per cent of the total variation, the increase in the sample size is nearly 300 per cent when compared with the size assuming that the lots are identical. The increase in the sample size is so pronounced that in order to maintain power one is led to consider a less stringent criterion for demonstration of lot consistency. The appropriate sample size formula that is a function of both components of variation is provided. We also discuss the increase in the sample size due to correlated comparisons arising from three pairs of lots as a function of the between-lot variance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sim.3273DOI Listing
August 2008

Immunogenicity of a tetravalent meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine in infants: a randomized controlled trial.

JAMA 2008 Jan;299(2):173-84

Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford, England.

Context: Immunization with a meningococcal tetravalent (serogroup ACWY) glycoconjugate vaccine is recommended for all US adolescents. However, the currently licensed vaccine is poorly immunogenic in infancy, when the highest rates of disease are observed.

Objective: To determine the immunogenicity of a novel tetravalent CRM(197)-conjugated meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY) in infants.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Randomized, open-label, controlled study of 225 UK and 196 Canadian 2-month-olds from August 2004 to September 2006.

Intervention: UK infants received a primary course of MenACWY (at 2, 3, and 4 months or 2 and 4 months) or Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C monovalent meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine (MenC) (at 2 and 4 months). All received MenACWY at 12 months. Canadian infants received MenACWY at 2, 4, and 6 months or 2 and 4 months; at 12 months they received MenACWY, a plain tetravalent polysaccharide vaccine, or no vaccine.

Main Outcome Measure: Percentage of infants with a human complement serum bactericidal activity (hSBA) titer >or=1:4 after a primary course of MenACWY and after a 12-month booster. Safety and reactogenicity of MenACWY were also assessed.

Results: According to the prespecified per-protocol analysis, the percentages (95% CIs) of MenACWY 2-, 3-, and 4-month recipients with hSBA titers >or=1:4 after primary immunization were serogroup A, 93% (84%-98%); C, 96% (89%-99%); W-135, 97% (90%-100%); and Y, 94% (86%-98%). With a post hoc intention-to-treat analysis with imputed values for missing data, these values were unchanged for serogroups C and Y; for serogroup A, values were 92% (84%-97%), and for W-135, 97% (91%-99%). For the per-protocol analysis of MenACWY 2-, 4-, and 6-month recipients, the percentages (95% CIs) of responders were A, 81% (71%-89%); C, 98% (92%-100%); W-135, 99% (93%-100%); and Y, 98% (92%-100%). With the imputed value analysis, these values were A, 83% (74%-89%); C, 98% (93%-99%); W-135, 99% (94%-100%); and Y, 98% (92%-99%). At least 84% of MenACWY 2- and 4-month recipients achieved hSBA titers >or=1:4 for serogroups C, W-135, and Y after primary immunization, as did at least 60% for serogroup A (per-protocol and imputation analysis). At least 95% of primary and booster MenACWY recipients achieved hSBA titers >or=1:4 for serogroups C, W-135, and Y at 13 months, as did at least 84% for serogroup A (per-protocol and imputation analysis). During the primary immunization course, postimmunization pain on leg movement was observed in 2% of UK MenACWY 2- and 4-month recipients and 4% of MenC 2- and 4-month recipients; a temperature of 38 degrees C or greater was observed in 4% and 2% in these groups, respectively.

Conclusion: MenACWY is well tolerated and immunogenic in infancy. Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00262002.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2007.29-cDOI Listing
January 2008

Low specificity of the Murex fourth-generation HIV enzyme immunoassay in Tanzanian adolescents.

Trop Med Int Health 2007 Nov 22;12(11):1323-6. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Objective: To determine the specificity of the Abbott Murex HIV antigen/antibody combination enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for the diagnosis of HIV infection in Tanzania.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 7333 Tanzanian adolescents and young adults was carried out. Sera testing positive by the Murex assay were further evaluated using a battery of other EIA which detect either antibody to HIV-1 or p24 antigen, and by PCR using pol primers.

Results: Of the 674 sera testing positive by the Murex assay, only 53 (7.9%) were confirmed. The specificity of the Murex assay was 91.5%.

Conclusions: Serological tests for HIV may perform differently in different populations. New diagnostic tests should not be introduced into populations in which they have not been evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2007.01933.xDOI Listing
November 2007

Biological and behavioural impact of an adolescent sexual health intervention in Tanzania: a community-randomized trial.

AIDS 2007 Sep;21(14):1943-55

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Objective: The impact of a multicomponent intervention programme on the sexual health of adolescents was assessed in rural Tanzania.

Design: A community-randomized trial.

Methods: Twenty communities were randomly allocated to receive either a specially designed programme of interventions (intervention group) or standard activities (comparison group). The intervention had four components: community activities; teacher-led, peer-assisted sexual health education in years 5-7 of primary school; training and supervision of health workers to provide 'youth-friendly' sexual health services; and peer condom social marketing. Impacts on HIV incidence, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2) and other sexual health outcomes were evaluated over approximately 3 years in 9645 adolescents recruited in late 1998 before entering years 5, 6 or 7 of primary school.

Results: The intervention had a significant impact on knowledge and reported attitudes, reported sexually transmitted infection symptoms, and several behavioural outcomes. Only five HIV seroconversions occurred in boys, whereas in girls the adjusted rate ratio (intervention versus comparison) was 0.75 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34, 1.66]. Overall HSV2 prevalences at follow-up were 11.9% in male and 21.1% in female participants, with adjusted prevalence ratios of 0.92 (CI 0.69, 1.22) and 1.05 (CI 0.83, 1.32), respectively. There was no consistent beneficial or adverse impact on other biological outcomes. The beneficial impact on knowledge and reported attitudes was confirmed by results of a school examination in a separate group of students in mid-2002.

Conclusion: The intervention substantially improved knowledge, reported attitudes and some reported sexual behaviours, especially in boys, but had no consistent impact on biological outcomes within the 3-year trial period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282ed3cf5DOI Listing
September 2007

Acceptability of azithromycin for the control of trachoma in Northern Tanzania.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2005 Sep;99(9):656-63

MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, 4 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RG, UK.

Trachoma causes blindness; the prevention strategy includes mass antibiotic treatment. In a community in Northern Tanzania offered mass treatment with azithromycin for the control of trachoma, we used focus group discussions, individual interviews, questionnaires and direct observation to quantify, explore and contextualize reasons for acceptance or refusal of the drug. In the village studied, 76% of the population eligible to receive azithromycin were treated. Uptake was significantly higher among women (79% treated) than men (72%). Factors affecting acceptability included: local prevention norms (such as the belief that injections, rather than oral medicine, should be used for prevention); perceptions of drugs in general and azithromycin in particular; perceptions of the distribution team's expertise; witnessing adverse effects in others; and the timing, quality and quantity of information about azithromycin and its availability. Familiarity with trachoma as a blinding disease was significantly associated with uptake. Individuals who refused treatment seemed to be less altruistic than other respondents. Neither socio-economic status nor use of traditional healers was related to uptake. Pre-distribution community assessment and community education, advance notice of the distribution, standardized distribution guidelines and improved distributor training are recommended to maximize acceptance of azithromycin in future campaigns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trstmh.2005.03.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6923142PMC
September 2005

Asking semi-literate adolescents about sexual behaviour: the validity of assisted self-completion questionnaire (ASCQ) data in rural Tanzania.

Trop Med Int Health 2004 Jun;9(6):737-54

Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Objectives: To develop and test a sexual behaviour survey method for semi-literate populations, combining the privacy of a self-completion questionnaire (SCQ) with the clarity of a face-to-face questionnaire (FFQ).

Methods: In 1998, 6079 Tanzanian primary school students (mean age 15.1 years) were surveyed using an innovative assisted self-completion questionnaire (ASCQ). The format of the questionnaire was simple, all responses were closed, and conceptually complex questions such as those involving ranking or multiple answers were avoided. The ASCQ was administered to groups of 20 by a research assistant who read questions and answers aloud in two languages so pupils could tick or write responses independently. A total of 4958 of respondents from the 1998 ASCQ Cohort also participated in a 1998 FFQ interview and, in 2000, 4424 again completed an ASCQ.

Results: In the 1998 ASCQ survey, 55.0% of males and 21.1% of females reported they had had vaginal intercourse, of whom 71.5% and 66.0%, respectively reported their first sexual relationship lasted for a week or less, and 49.5% and 59.6%, respectively reported they had had sex in the last 4 weeks. After adjustment for age, reported sex was associated with alcohol use in both males (OR = 1.57) and females (OR = 1.69), earning money for males (OR = 1.32) and not living with a mother for females (OR = 0.77). The vast majority of respondents did not appear to have difficulty completing the ASCQ, but 7.4% of 1998 respondents and 2.9% of 2000 respondents selected all first or all last answers in a section for which this was inconsistent. This bias was associated with female, less educated and more geographically remote respondents. Of those respondents who reported sex in the 1998 ASCQ survey, 32.1% reported fewer total partners in the 2000 ASCQ survey, 25.2% reported having had sex fewer times than originally reported, and 61.9% of those who reported having used a condom in 1998 reported never having used one in 2000. While the proportions reporting sex were very similar in the 1998 ASCQ and FFQ surveys, 37.9% of males and 59.2% of females reporting sex only did so on one of the two questionnaires. Higher proportions of respondents reported sensitive information in the ASCQ than the FFQ, although in some cases this may have related to answer order bias.

Conclusion: The results suggest that an ASCQ may be useful in assessing sexual behaviour in African adolescents, particularly for older, male and/or educated respondents. However, triangulation with data from other surveys raises questions about the validity of self-reported sexual behaviour in general.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2004.01254.xDOI Listing
June 2004

Effect of aluminum adjuvants on safety and immunogenicity of Haemophilus influenzae type b-CRM197 conjugate vaccine.

Pediatr Int 2003 Jun;45(3):314-8

Departments of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Social Pediatrics Medical Faculty, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.

Objective: The present study was carried out to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the Haemophilus influenzae type b-CRM197 (Hib-CRM197) conjugate vaccine in relation to the change of adjuvant from aluminum hydroxide to aluminum phosphate (AlPO4).

Methods: The present study was a clinical phase II, observer-blind, randomized, multicenter, controlled study. Subjects were healthy infants aged 6-12 weeks, eligible for expanded program of immunization (EPI) routine vaccination and admitted to Hacettepe University Department of Social Pediatrics and Gülveren Health Center, Ankara. A total of 520 healthy infants were randomized in a 2:2:1 ratio to receive at either Chiron Hib/AlPO4 vaccine or VaxemHib (aluminum hydroxide adjuvant) vaccine or HibTiter (no adjuvant). Vaccines were administered simultaneously with routine diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) and oral polio vaccine (OPV) vaccines at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Blood samples for anti-plain polysaccharide (PRP) antibody measurement were collected before the first vaccination and 1 month after the last vaccination. After each vaccination parents filled out a diary for 7 days.

Results: Out of 520 subjects enrolled, 514 received three doses and were included for safety analysis. Local and systemic reactions occurred with low and similar frequencies in all groups. Only erythema was more common in Chiron Hib/AlPO4 vaccine (19, 10, 11% in Chiron Hib/AlPO4, VaxemHib and HibTiter, respectively, P < 0.05). Nine serious adverse events were reported in seven cases of which none were related to vaccines. A total of 504 subjects were included in the immunogenicity analysis. The three vaccines were highly immunogenic and equivalent in terms of percentage of acquisition of long-term protective levels. The anti-PRP geometric mean titers were 9.9, 8.3 and 5.14 micro g/mL, respectively (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The use of aluminum compounds adjuvants in Hib-CRM197 conjugate vaccines does not impact the safety profile, while it does increase the magnitude of anti-PRP antibody titers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1442-200x.2003.01706.xDOI Listing
June 2003