Publications by authors named "Hanneke Schuitemaker"

192 Publications

Immunogenicity and efficacy of one and two doses of Ad26.COV2.S COVID vaccine in adult and aged NHP.

J Exp Med 2021 07;218(7)

Biomedical Primate Research Centre, Rijswijk, Netherlands.

Safe and effective coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccines are urgently needed to control the ongoing pandemic. While single-dose vaccine regimens would provide multiple advantages, two doses may improve the magnitude and durability of immunity and protective efficacy. We assessed one- and two-dose regimens of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine candidate in adult and aged nonhuman primates (NHPs). A two-dose Ad26.COV2.S regimen induced higher peak binding and neutralizing antibody responses compared with a single dose. In one-dose regimens, neutralizing antibody responses were stable for at least 14 wk, providing an early indication of durability. Ad26.COV2.S induced humoral immunity and T helper cell (Th cell) 1-skewed cellular responses in aged NHPs that were comparable to those in adult animals. Aged Ad26.COV2.S-vaccinated animals challenged 3 mo after dose 1 with a SARS-CoV-2 spike G614 variant showed near complete lower and substantial upper respiratory tract protection for both regimens. Neutralization of variants of concern by NHP sera was reduced for B.1.351 lineages while maintained for the B.1.1.7 lineage independent of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20202756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8085771PMC
July 2021

Safety and Efficacy of Single-Dose Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine against Covid-19.

N Engl J Med 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

From Janssen Vaccines and Prevention, Leiden, the Netherlands (J. Sadoff, G. Shukarev, G. Scheper, M.L.G., H.S., J.V.H., M.D.); South African Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa (G.G.); Janssen Research and Development, Beerse, Belgium (A.V., C.T., H.F., B.S., K.O., M.F.R., N.C., T.T., K.H., J.R.G., F.S.); Janssen Research and Development, Spring House, PA (V.C.); Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases-Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro (B.G.); the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham (P.A.G.); the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rockville (K.L.T., M.A.M.), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring (M.L.R.), and the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore (K.M.N.) - all in Maryland; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Washington, DC (J.T.); the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston (D.H.B.); Janssen Research and Development, Raritan, NJ (J. Stoddard); and Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle (L.C.).

Background: The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine is a recombinant, replication-incompetent human adenovirus type 26 vector encoding full-length severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein in a prefusion-stabilized conformation.

Methods: In an international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned adult participants in a 1:1 ratio to receive a single dose of Ad26.COV2.S (5×10 viral particles) or placebo. The primary end points were vaccine efficacy against moderate to severe-critical coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) with an onset at least 14 days and at least 28 days after administration among participants in the per-protocol population who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Safety was also assessed.

Results: The per-protocol population included 19,630 SARS-CoV-2-negative participants who received Ad26.COV2.S and 19,691 who received placebo. Ad26.COV2.S protected against moderate to severe-critical Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days after administration (116 cases in the vaccine group vs. 348 in the placebo group; efficacy, 66.9%; adjusted 95% confidence interval [CI], 59.0 to 73.4) and at least 28 days after administration (66 vs. 193 cases; efficacy, 66.1%; adjusted 95% CI, 55.0 to 74.8). Vaccine efficacy was higher against severe-critical Covid-19 (76.7% [adjusted 95% CI, 54.6 to 89.1] for onset at ≥14 days and 85.4% [adjusted 95% CI, 54.2 to 96.9] for onset at ≥28 days). Despite 86 of 91 cases (94.5%) in South Africa with sequenced virus having the 20H/501Y.V2 variant, vaccine efficacy was 52.0% and 64.0% against moderate to severe-critical Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days and at least 28 days after administration, respectively, and efficacy against severe-critical Covid-19 was 73.1% and 81.7%, respectively. Reactogenicity was higher with Ad26.COV2.S than with placebo but was generally mild to moderate and transient. The incidence of serious adverse events was balanced between the two groups. Three deaths occurred in the vaccine group (none were Covid-19-related), and 16 in the placebo group (5 were Covid-19-related).

Conclusions: A single dose of Ad26.COV2.S protected against symptomatic Covid-19 and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and was effective against severe-critical disease, including hospitalization and death. Safety appeared to be similar to that in other phase 3 trials of Covid-19 vaccines. (Funded by Janssen Research and Development and others; ENSEMBLE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04505722.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2101544DOI Listing
April 2021

Ad26.COV2.S protects Syrian hamsters against G614 spike variant SARS-CoV-2 and does not enhance respiratory disease.

NPJ Vaccines 2021 Mar 19;6(1):39. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands.

Previously we have shown that a single dose of recombinant adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vaccine expressing a prefusion stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen (Ad26.COV2.S) is immunogenic and provides protection in Syrian hamster and non-human primate SARS-CoV-2 infection models. Here, we investigated the immunogenicity, protective efficacy, and potential for vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD) mediated by Ad26.COV2.S in a moderate disease Syrian hamster challenge model, using the currently most prevalent G614 spike SARS-CoV-2 variant. Vaccine doses of 1 × 10 and 1 × 10 VP elicited substantial neutralizing antibodies titers and completely protected over 80% of SARS-CoV-2 inoculated Syrian hamsters from lung infection and pneumonia but not upper respiratory tract infection. A second vaccine dose further increased neutralizing antibody titers that was associated with decreased infectious viral load in the upper respiratory tract after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Suboptimal non-protective immune responses elicited by low-dose A26.COV2.S vaccination did not exacerbate respiratory disease in SARS-CoV-2-inoculated Syrian hamsters with breakthrough infection. In addition, dosing down the vaccine allowed to establish that binding and neutralizing antibody titers correlate with lower respiratory tract protection probability. Overall, these preclinical data confirm efficacy of a one-dose vaccine regimen with Ad26.COV2.S in this G614 spike SARS-CoV-2 virus variant Syrian hamster model, show the added benefit of a second vaccine dose, and demonstrate that there are no signs of VAERD under conditions of suboptimal immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-021-00301-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7979827PMC
March 2021

Immunogenicity of the Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine for COVID-19.

JAMA 2021 04;325(15):1535-1544

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Control of the global COVID-19 pandemic will require the development and deployment of safe and effective vaccines.

Objective: To evaluate the immunogenicity of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) in humans, including the kinetics, magnitude, and phenotype of SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific humoral and cellular immune responses.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Twenty-five participants were enrolled from July 29, 2020, to August 7, 2020, and the follow-up for this day 71 interim analysis was completed on October 3, 2020; follow-up to assess durability will continue for 2 years. This study was conducted at a single clinical site in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 clinical trial of Ad26.COV2.S.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to receive 1 or 2 intramuscular injections with 5 × 1010 viral particles or 1 × 1011 viral particles of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine or placebo administered on day 1 and day 57 (5 participants in each group).

Main Outcomes And Measures: Humoral immune responses included binding and neutralizing antibody responses at multiple time points following immunization. Cellular immune responses included immunospot-based and intracellular cytokine staining assays to measure T-cell responses.

Results: Twenty-five participants were randomized (median age, 42; age range, 22-52; 52% women, 44% male, 4% undifferentiated), and all completed the trial through the day 71 interim end point. Binding and neutralizing antibodies emerged rapidly by day 8 after initial immunization in 90% and 25% of vaccine recipients, respectively. By day 57, binding and neutralizing antibodies were detected in 100% of vaccine recipients after a single immunization. On day 71, the geometric mean titers of spike-specific binding antibodies were 2432 to 5729 and the geometric mean titers of neutralizing antibodies were 242 to 449 in the vaccinated groups. A variety of antibody subclasses, Fc receptor binding properties, and antiviral functions were induced. CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses were induced.

Conclusion And Relevance: In this phase 1 study, a single immunization with Ad26.COV2.S induced rapid binding and neutralization antibody responses as well as cellular immune responses. Two phase 3 clinical trials are currently underway to determine the efficacy of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04436276.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.3645DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7953339PMC
April 2021

Coronavirus-Specific Antibody Cross Reactivity in Rhesus Macaques Following SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination and Infection.

J Virol 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Vaccines are being rapidly developed with the goal of ending the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. However, the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 vaccination induces serum responses that cross-react with other coronaviruses remains poorly studied. Here we define serum profiles in rhesus macaques after vaccination with DNA or Ad26 based vaccines expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein followed by SARS-CoV-2 challenge, or SARS-CoV-2 infection alone. Analysis of serum responses showed robust reactivity to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length Spike protein and receptor binding domain (RBD), both included in the vaccine. However, serum cross-reactivity to the closely related sarbecovirus SARS-CoV-1 Spike and RBD, was reduced. Reactivity was also measured to the distantly related common cold alpha-coronavirus, 229E and NL63, and beta-coronavirus, OC43 and HKU1, Spike proteins. Using SARS-COV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 lentivirus based pseudoviruses, we show that neutralizing antibody responses were predominantly SARS-CoV-2 specific. These data define patterns of cross-reactive binding and neutralizing serum responses induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination in rhesus macaques. Our observations have important implications for understanding polyclonal responses to SARS-CoV-2 Spike, which will facilitate future CoV vaccine assessment and development.The rapid development and deployment of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has been unprecedented. In this study, we explore the cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody responses to other coronaviruses. By analyzing responses from NHPs both before and after immunization with DNA or Ad26 vectored vaccines, we find patterns of cross reactivity that mirror those induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection. These data highlight the similarities between infection and vaccine induced humoral immunity for SARS-CoV-2 and cross-reactivity of these responses to other CoVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00117-21DOI Listing
March 2021

Vaccines based on replication incompetent Ad26 viral vectors: Standardized template with key considerations for a risk/benefit assessment.

Vaccine 2020 Oct 3. Epub 2020 Oct 3.

Brighton Collaboration, A Program of the Task Force for Global Health, Decatur, GA, USA.

Replication-incompetent adenoviral vectors have been under investigation as a platform to carry a variety of transgenes, and express them as a basis for vaccine development. A replication-incompetent adenoviral vector based on human adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) has been evaluated in several clinical trials. The Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG) was formed to evaluate the safety and features of recombinant viral vector vaccines. This paper reviews features of the Ad26 vectors, including tabulation of safety and risk assessment characteristics of Ad26-based vaccines. In the Ad26 vector, deletion of E1 gene rendering the vector replication incompetent is combined with additional genetic engineering for vaccine manufacturability and transgene expression optimization. These vaccines can be manufactured in mammalian cell lines at scale providing an effective, flexible system for high-yield manufacturing. Ad26 vector vaccines have favorable thermostability profiles, compatible with vaccine supply chains. Safety data are compiled in the Ad26 vaccine safety database version 4.0, with unblinded data from 23 ongoing and completed clinical studies for 3912 participants in five different Ad26-based vaccine programs. Overall, Ad26-based vaccines have been well tolerated, with no significant safety issues identified. Evaluation of Ad26-based vaccines is continuing, with >114,000 participants vaccinated as of 4th September 2020. Extensive evaluation of immunogenicity in humans shows strong, durable humoral and cellular immune responses. Clinical trials have not revealed impact of pre-existing immunity to Ad26 on vaccine immunogenicity, even in the presence of Ad26 neutralizing antibody titers or Ad26-targeting T cell responses at baseline. The first Ad26-based vaccine, against Ebola virus, received marketing authorization from EC on 1st July 2020, as part of the Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimen. New developments based on Ad26 vectors are underway, including a COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently in phase 3 of clinical evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.09.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7532807PMC
October 2020

A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Phase 1 Study of Ad26.ZIKV.001, an Ad26-Vectored Anti-Zika Virus Vaccine.

Ann Intern Med 2021 Feb 16. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts (K.E.S., D.G.K., R.A.L., P.A., J.L., L.P., D.H.B.).

Background: Zika virus (ZIKV) may cause severe congenital disease after maternal-fetal transmission. No vaccine is currently available.

Objective: To assess the safety and immunogenicity of Ad26.ZIKV.001, a prophylactic ZIKV vaccine candidate.

Design: Phase 1 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03356561).

Setting: United States.

Participants: 100 healthy adult volunteers.

Intervention: Ad26.ZIKV.001, an adenovirus serotype 26 vector encoding ZIKV M-Env, administered in 1- or 2-dose regimens of 5 × 10 or 1 × 10 viral particles (vp), or placebo.

Measurements: Local and systemic adverse events; neutralization titers by microneutralization assay (MN50) and T-cell responses by interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot and intracellular cytokine staining; and protectivity of vaccine-induced antibodies in a subset of participants through transfer in an exploratory mouse ZIKV challenge model.

Results: All regimens were well tolerated, with no safety concerns identified. In both 2-dose regimens, ZIKV neutralizing titers peaked 14 days after the second vaccination, with geometric mean MN50 titers (GMTs) of 1065.6 (95% CI, 494.9 to 2294.5) for 5 × 10 vp and 956.6 (595.8 to 1535.8) for 1 × 10 vp. Titers persisted for at least 1 year at a GMT of 68.7 (CI, 26.4-178.9) for 5 × 10 vp and 87.0 (CI, 29.3 to 258.6) for 1 × 10 vp. A 1-dose regimen of 1 × 10 vp Ad26.ZIKV.001 induced seroconversion in all participants 56 days after the first vaccination (GMT, 103.4 [CI, 52.7 to 202.9]), with titers persisting for at least 1 year (GMT, 90.2 [CI, 38.4 to 212.2]). Env-specific cellular responses were induced. Protection against ZIKV challenge was observed after antibody transfer from participants into mice, and MN50 titers correlated with protection in this model.

Limitation: The study was conducted in a nonendemic area, so it did not assess safety and immunogenicity in a flavivirus-exposed population.

Conclusion: The safety and immunogenicity profile makes Ad26.ZIKV.001 a promising candidate for further development if the need reemerges.

Primary Funding Source: Janssen Vaccines and Infectious Diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/M20-5306DOI Listing
February 2021

Adenovector 26 encoded prefusion conformation stabilized RSV-F protein induces long-lasting Th1-biased immunity in neonatal mice.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 Jun 12;5(1):49. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands.

While RSV is a major cause of respiratory morbidity in infants, vaccine development is hindered by the immaturity and Th2-bias of the infant immune system and the legacy of enhanced respiratory disease (ERD) after RSV infection following immunization with formalin inactivated (FI)-RSV vaccine in earlier clinical trials. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that an adenoviral vector-based RSV F vaccine candidate (Ad26.RSV.FA2) induces Th1-biased protective immune responses, without signs of ERD upon subsequent RSV challenge. We here developed an Ad26 vector encoding the RSV F protein stabilized in its prefusion conformation (Ad26.RSV.preF). In adult mice, Ad26.RSV.preF induced superior, Th1-biased IgG2a-dominated humoral responses as compared to Ad26.RSV.FA2, while maintaining the strong Th1-biased cellular responses. Similar to adult mice, Ad26.RSV.preF induced robust and durable humoral immunity in neonatal mice, again characterized by IgG2a-dominated RSV F-binding antibodies, and high and stable virus-neutralizing titers. In addition, vaccine-elicited cellular immune responses were durable and characterized by IFN-γ-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, with a profound Th1 bias. In contrast, immunization of neonatal mice with FI-RSV resulted in IgG1 RSV F-binding antibodies associated with a Th2 phenotype, no detectable virus-neutralizing antibodies, and a Th2-biased cellular response. These results are supportive for the clinical development of Ad26.RSV.preF for use in infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-0200-yDOI Listing
June 2020

Low-Dose Ad26.COV2.S Protection Against SARS-CoV-2 Challenge in Rhesus Macaques.

bioRxiv 2021 Jan 27. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

We previously reported that a single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector-based vaccine expressing an optimized SARS-CoV-2 spike (Ad26.COV2.S) protected rhesus macaques against SARS-CoV-2 challenge. In this study, we evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of reduced doses of Ad26.COV2.S. 30 rhesus macaques were immunized once with 1×10 , 5×10 , 1.125×10 , or 2×10 vp Ad26.COV2.S or sham and were challenged with SARS-CoV-2 by the intranasal and intratracheal routes. Vaccine doses as low as 2×10 vp provided robust protection in bronchoalveolar lavage, whereas doses of 1.125×10 vp were required for protection in nasal swabs. Activated memory B cells as well as binding and neutralizing antibody titers following vaccination correlated with protective efficacy. At suboptimal vaccine doses, viral breakthrough was observed but did not show evidence of virologic, immunologic, histopathologic, or clinical enhancement of disease compared with sham controls. These data demonstrate that a single immunization with a relatively low dose of Ad26.COV2.S effectively protected against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques. Moreover, our findings show that a higher vaccine dose may be required for protection in the upper respiratory tract compared with the lower respiratory tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.27.428380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852276PMC
January 2021

Interim Results of a Phase 1-2a Trial of Ad26.COV2.S Covid-19 Vaccine.

N Engl J Med 2021 Jan 13. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

From Janssen Vaccines and Prevention, Leiden, the Netherlands (J. Sadoff, M.L.G., G. Shukarev, A.M.G., J. Stoop, S.T., E.C., G. Scheper, J. Hendriks, M.D., J.V.H., H.S.); Janssen Research and Development, Beerse (D.H., C.T., F.S.), Janssen Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Merksem (W.V.D.), the Center for Vaccinology, Ghent University, Gent (I.L.-R.), SGS Life Sciences (P.-J.B.) and the Center for the Evaluation of Vaccination, University of Antwerp (P.V.D.), Antwerp, and the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven (J. de Hoon) - all in Belgium; Optimal Research, Melbourne, FL (M.K.); the Alliance for Multispecialty Research, Knoxville, TN (W.S.); the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston (K.E.S., D.H.B.); and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle (S.C.D.R., K.W.C., M.J.M.).

Background: Efficacious vaccines are urgently needed to contain the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A candidate vaccine, Ad26.COV2.S, is a recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector encoding a full-length and stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Methods: In this multicenter, placebo-controlled, phase 1-2a trial, we randomly assigned healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 years (cohort 1) and those 65 years of age or older (cohort 3) to receive the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine at a dose of 5×10 viral particles (low dose) or 1×10 viral particles (high dose) per milliliter or placebo in a single-dose or two-dose schedule. Longer-term data comparing a single-dose regimen with a two-dose regimen are being collected in cohort 2; those results are not reported here. The primary end points were the safety and reactogenicity of each dose schedule.

Results: After the administration of the first vaccine dose in 805 participants in cohorts 1 and 3 and after the second dose in cohort 1, the most frequent solicited adverse events were fatigue, headache, myalgia, and injection-site pain. The most frequent systemic adverse event was fever. Systemic adverse events were less common in cohort 3 than in cohort 1 and in those who received the low vaccine dose than in those who received the high dose. Reactogenicity was lower after the second dose. Neutralizing-antibody titers against wild-type virus were detected in 90% or more of all participants on day 29 after the first vaccine dose (geometric mean titer [GMT], 224 to 354) and reached 100% by day 57 with a further increase in titers (GMT, 288 to 488), regardless of vaccine dose or age group. Titers remained stable until at least day 71. A second dose provided an increase in the titer by a factor of 2.6 to 2.9 (GMT, 827 to 1266). Spike-binding antibody responses were similar to neutralizing-antibody responses. On day 14, CD4+ T-cell responses were detected in 76 to 83% of the participants in cohort 1 and in 60 to 67% of those in cohort 3, with a clear skewing toward type 1 helper T cells. CD8+ T-cell responses were robust overall but lower in cohort 3.

Conclusions: The safety and immunogenicity profiles of Ad26.COV2.S support further development of this vaccine candidate. (Funded by Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services; COV1001 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04436276.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2034201DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821985PMC
January 2021

Prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Healthy Adults by a Single Immunization of Ad26.RSV.preF in a Human Challenge Study.

J Infect Dis 2021 Jan 5. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a significant cause of severe lower respiratory tract disease in children and older adults, but has no approved vaccine. This study assessed the potential of Ad26.RSV.preF to protect against RSV infection and disease in an RSV human challenge model.

Methods: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, healthy adults aged 18-50 years were randomized 1:1 to receive 1x1011 vp Ad26.RSV.preF or placebo intramuscularly. Twenty-eight days post-immunization, volunteers were challenged intranasally with RSV-A (Memphis 37b). Assesments included viral load (VL), RSV infections, clinical symptom score (CSS), safety and immunogenicity.

Results: Post-challenge, VL, RSV infections and disease severity were lower in Ad26.RSV.preF (n=27) versus placebo (n=26) recipients: median VL-AUC (area under the curve) qRT-PCR: 0.0 versus 236.0 (P=.012; predefined primary endpoint); median VL-AUC quantitative culture: 0.0 versus 109; RSV infections 11 (40.7%) versus 17 (65.4%); median RSV AUC-CSS 35 versus 167, respectively. From baseline to 28 days post-immunization, geometric mean fold-increases in RSV A2 neutralizing antibody titers of 5.8 and 0.9 were observed in Ad26.RSV.preF and placebo, respectively. Ad26.RSV.preF was well tolerated.

Conclusions: Ad26.RSV.preF demonstrated protection from RSV infection through immunization in a human challenge model, and therefore could potentially protect against natural RSV infection and disease.

Clinical Trials Registration: NCT03334695.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiab003DOI Listing
January 2021

Nonhuman primate to human immunobridging to infer the protective effect of an Ebola virus vaccine candidate.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 Dec 17;5(1):112. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands.

It has been proven challenging to conduct traditional efficacy trials for Ebola virus (EBOV) vaccines. In the absence of efficacy data, immunobridging is an approach to infer the likelihood of a vaccine protective effect, by translating vaccine immunogenicity in humans to a protective effect, using the relationship between vaccine immunogenicity and the desired outcome in a suitable animal model. We here propose to infer the protective effect of the Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimen with an 8-week interval in humans by immunobridging. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy data were obtained for Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimens using a fully lethal EBOV Kikwit challenge model in cynomolgus monkeys (nonhuman primates [NHP]). The association between EBOV neutralizing antibodies, glycoprotein (GP)-binding antibodies, and GP-reactive T cells and survival in NHP was assessed by logistic regression analysis. Binding antibodies against the EBOV surface GP were identified as the immune parameter with the strongest correlation to survival post EBOV challenge, and used to infer the predicted protective effect of the vaccine in humans using published data from phase I studies. The human vaccine-elicited EBOV GP-binding antibody levels are in a range associated with significant protection against mortality in NHP. Based on this immunobridging analysis, the EBOV GP-specific-binding antibody levels elicited by the Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimen in humans will likely provide protection against EBOV disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00261-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7747701PMC
December 2020

Safety and immunogenicity of a new Sabin inactivated poliovirus vaccine candidate produced on the PER.C6® cell-line: a phase 1 randomized controlled trial in adults.

Hum Vaccin Immunother 2021 May 11;17(5):1366-1373. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands.

This first-in-human study (NCT03032588), conducted in Belgium, evaluated a new inactivated poliovirus vaccines (IPV) candidate based on Sabin poliovirus strains grown on the high-yield PER.C6® cell line. Healthy adults (N = 32) were randomized (1:1) to receive a single dose of PER.C6-based Sabin-IPV (sIPV, 15:35:112.5 DU/dose) or conventional Salk-IPV (cIPV, 40:8:32 DU/dose). Reactogenicity was assessed up to 7 days after vaccination, immunogenicity 28 days after vaccination, and safety up to 6 months after vaccination.Solicited adverse events (AEs) were mild to moderate, no changes of concern in vital signs or safety laboratory values were observed, and no severe AEs (SAEs) or vaccine-related unsolicited AEs were reported after vaccination. A trend to more frequent solicited AEs after sIPV than after cIPV administration was observed. Most participants had preexisting neutralizing antibodies against poliovirus types (titer ≥8), which were strongly boosted by sIPV. Post-vaccination geometric mean titers were high (≥12,000) and similar across the two vaccination groups. Only participants with very high preexisting antibody levels did not show a vaccine-induced response, defined in seropositive participants as a 4-fold titer increase. The 10 initially seronegative (titer <8) participants (n = 5 in each study group) seroconverted and all participants had seroprotective antibody levels post-vaccination. The antibodies elicited by sIPV neutralized both Sabin and Salk poliovirus strains.In conclusion, the PER.C6®-based sIPV was well tolerated and highly immunogenic in adults with preexisting antibodies to poliovirus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21645515.2020.1812315DOI Listing
May 2021

Ad26 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine encoding a prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 Spike immunogen induces potent humoral and cellular immune responses.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 28;5:91. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Development of effective preventative interventions against SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19 is urgently needed. The viral surface spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 is a key target for prophylactic measures as it is critical for the viral replication cycle and the primary target of neutralizing antibodies. We evaluated design elements previously shown for other coronavirus S protein-based vaccines to be successful, e.g., prefusion-stabilizing substitutions and heterologous signal peptides, for selection of a S-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. In vitro characterization demonstrated that the introduction of stabilizing substitutions (i.e., furin cleavage site mutations and two consecutive prolines in the hinge region of S2) increased the ratio of neutralizing versus non-neutralizing antibody binding, suggestive for a prefusion conformation of the S protein. Furthermore, the wild-type signal peptide was best suited for the correct cleavage needed for a natively folded protein. These observations translated into superior immunogenicity in mice where the Ad26 vector encoding for a membrane-bound stabilized S protein with a wild-type signal peptide elicited potent neutralizing humoral immunity and cellular immunity that was polarized towards Th1 IFN-γ. This optimized Ad26 vector-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, termed Ad26.COV2.S, is currently being evaluated in a phase I clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04436276).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00243-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522255PMC
September 2020

Prospects for a safe COVID-19 vaccine.

Sci Transl Med 2020 11 19;12(568). Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Rapid development of an efficacious vaccine against the viral pathogen severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, is essential, but rigorous studies are required to determine the safety of candidate vaccines. Here, on behalf of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Working Group, we evaluate research on the potential risk of immune enhancement of disease by vaccines and viral infections, including coronavirus infections, together with emerging data about COVID-19 disease. Vaccine-associated enhanced disease has been rarely encountered with existing vaccines or viral infections. Although animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection may elucidate mechanisms of immune protection, we need observations of enhanced disease in people receiving candidate COVID-19 vaccines to understand the risk of immune enhancement of disease. Neither principles of immunity nor preclinical studies provide a basis for prioritizing among the COVID-19 vaccine candidates with respect to safety at this time. Rigorous clinical trial design and postlicensure surveillance should provide a reliable strategy to identify adverse events, including the potential for enhanced severity of COVID-19 disease, after vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abe0948DOI Listing
November 2020

Safety and immunogenicity of two heterologous HIV vaccine regimens in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults (TRAVERSE): a randomised, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 1/2a study.

Lancet HIV 2020 10;7(10):e688-e698

Janssen Research and Development, Titusville, NJ, USA.

Background: Bioinformatically designed mosaic antigens increase the breadth of HIV vaccine-elicited immunity. This study compared the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a newly developed, tetravalent Ad26 vaccine with the previously tested trivalent formulation.

Methods: This randomised, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 1/2a study (TRAVERSE) was done at 11 centres in the USA and one centre in Rwanda. Eligible participants were adults aged 18 to 50 years, who were HIV-uninfected, healthy at screening based on their medical history and a physical examination including laboratory assessment and vital sign measurements, and at low risk of HIV infection in the opinion of study staff, who applied a uniform definition of low-risk guidelines that was aligned across sites. Enrolled participants were randomly assigned at a 2:1 ratio to tetravalent and trivalent groups. Participants in tetravalent and trivalent groups were then further randomly assigned at a 5:1 ratio to adenovirus 26 (Ad26)-vectored vaccine and placebo subgroups. Randomisation was stratified by region (USA and Rwanda) and based on a computer-generated schedule using randomly permuted blocks prepared under the sponsor's supervision. We masked participants and investigators to treatment allocation throughout the study. On day 0, participants received a first injection of tetravalent vaccine (Ad26.Mos4.HIV or placebo) or trivalent vaccine (Ad26.Mos.HIV or placebo), and those injections were repeated 12 weeks later. At week 24, vaccine groups received a third dose of tetravalent or trivalent together with clade C gp140, and this was repeated at week 48, with placebos again administered to the placebo group. All study vaccines and placebo were administered by intramuscular injection in the deltoid muscle. We assessed adverse events in all participants who received at least one study injection (full analysis set) and Env-specific binding antibodies in all participants who received at least the first three vaccinations according to the protocol-specified vaccination schedule, had at least one measured post-dose blood sample collected, and were not diagnosed with HIV during the study (per-protocol set). This study is registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT02788045.

Findings: Of 201 participants who were enrolled and randomly assigned, 198 received the first vaccination: 110 were in the tetravalent group, 55 in the trivalent group, and 33 in the placebo group. Overall, 185 (93%) completed two scheduled vaccinations per protocol, 180 (91%) completed three, and 164 (83%) completed four. Solicited, self-limiting local, systemic reactogenicity and unsolicited adverse events were similar in vaccine groups and higher than in placebo groups. All participants in the per-protocol set developed clade C Env binding antibodies after the second vaccination, with higher total IgG titres after the tetravalent vaccine than after the trivalent vaccine (10 413 EU/mL, 95% CI 7284-14 886 in the tetravalent group compared with 5494 EU/mL, 3759-8029 in the trivalent group). Titres further increased after the third and fourth vaccinations, persisting at least through week 72. Other immune responses were also higher with the tetravalent vaccine, including the magnitude and breadth of binding antibodies against a cross-clade panel of Env antigens, and the magnitude of IFNγ ELISPOT responses (median 521 SFU/10 peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs] in the tetravalent group and median 282 SFU/10 PBMCs in the trivalent group after the fourth vaccination) and Env-specific CD4+ T-cell response rates after the third and fourth vaccinations. No interference by pre-existing Ad26 immunity was identified.

Interpretation: The tetravalent vaccine regimen was generally safe, well-tolerated, and found to elicit higher immune responses than the trivalent regimen. Regimens that use this tetravalent vaccine component are being advanced into field trials to assess efficacy against HIV-1 infection.

Funding: National Institutes of Health, Henry M Jackson Foundation for Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, & Harvard, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janssen Vaccines & Prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30229-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7529856PMC
October 2020

Neutralizing Antibody Responses Induced by HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein SOSIP Trimers Derived from Elite Neutralizers.

J Virol 2020 11 23;94(24). Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Medical Microbiology, Amsterdam Infection & Immunity Institute (AI&II), Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) is a major goal in vaccine research. HIV-1-infected individuals that develop exceptionally strong bNAb responses, termed elite neutralizers, can inform vaccine design by providing blueprints for the induction of similar bNAb responses. We describe a new recombinant native-like envelope glycoprotein (Env) SOSIP trimer, termed AMC009, based on the viral founder sequences of an elite neutralizer. The subtype B AMC009 SOSIP protein formed stable native-like trimers that displayed multiple bNAb epitopes. Overall, its structure at 4.3-Å resolution was similar to that of BG505 SOSIP.664. The AMC009 trimer resembled one from a second elite neutralizer, AMC011, in having a dense and complete glycan shield. When tested as immunogens in rabbits, the AMC009 trimers did not induce autologous neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses efficiently while the AMC011 trimers did so very weakly, outcomes that may reflect the completeness of their glycan shields. The AMC011 trimer induced antibodies that occasionally cross-neutralized heterologous tier 2 viruses, sometimes at high titer. Cross-neutralizing antibodies were more frequently elicited by a trivalent combination of AMC008, AMC009, and AMC011 trimers, all derived from subtype B viruses. Each of these three individual trimers could deplete the NAb activity from the rabbit sera. Mapping the polyclonal sera by electron microscopy revealed that antibodies of multiple specificities could bind to sites on both autologous and heterologous trimers. These results advance our understanding of how to use Env trimers in multivalent vaccination regimens and the immunogenicity of trimers derived from elite neutralizers. Elite neutralizers, i.e., individuals who developed unusually broad and potent neutralizing antibody responses, might serve as blueprints for HIV-1 vaccine design. Here, we studied the immunogenicity of native-like recombinant envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimers based on viral sequences from elite neutralizers. While immunization with single trimers from elite neutralization did not recapitulate the breadth and potency of neutralization observed in these infected individuals, a combination of three subtype B Env trimers from elite neutralizers resulted in some neutralization breadth within subtype B viruses. These results should guide future efforts to design vaccines to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01214-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7925178PMC
November 2020

Ad26 vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 severe clinical disease in hamsters.

Nat Med 2020 11 3;26(11):1694-1700. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans is often a clinically mild illness, but some individuals develop severe pneumonia, respiratory failure and death. Studies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in hamsters and nonhuman primates have generally reported mild clinical disease, and preclinical SARS-CoV-2 vaccine studies have demonstrated reduction of viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tracts in nonhuman primates. Here we show that high-dose intranasal SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters results in severe clinical disease, including high levels of virus replication in tissues, extensive pneumonia, weight loss and mortality in a subset of animals. A single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 vector-based vaccine expressing a stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein elicited binding and neutralizing antibody responses and protected against SARS-CoV-2-induced weight loss, pneumonia and mortality. These data demonstrate vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 clinical disease. This model should prove useful for preclinical studies of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, therapeutics and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1070-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7671939PMC
November 2020

Safety and Immunogenicity of the Ad26.RSV.preF Investigational Vaccine Coadministered With an Influenza Vaccine in Older Adults.

J Infect Dis 2021 Feb;223(4):699-708

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza cause significant disease burden in older adults. Overlapping RSV and influenza seasonality presents the opportunity to coadminister vaccines for both infections. This study assessed coadministration of the investigational vaccine, Ad26.RSV.preF, an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector encoding RSV F protein stabilized in its prefusion conformation (pre-F), with a seasonal influenza vaccine in older adults.

Methods: In this phase 2a, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 180 adults aged ≥60 years received Ad26.RSV.preF plus Fluarix on day 1 and placebo on day 29, or placebo plus Fluarix on day 1 and Ad26.RSV.preF on day 29 (control).

Results: The coadministration regimen had an acceptable tolerability profile. Reactogenicity was generally higher after Ad26.RSV.preF versus Fluarix, but symptoms were generally transient and mild or moderate. At 28 days after the first vaccination, the upper confidence intervals of the hemagglutination inhibition antibody geometric mean ratio (control/coadministration) for all influenza strains were <2, demonstrating noninferiority. Robust neutralizing and binding antibody responses to RSV A2 were observed in both groups.

Conclusions: Coadministration of Fluarix with Ad26.RSV.preF vaccine had an acceptable safety profile and showed no evidence of interference in immune response. The results are compatible with simultaneous seasonal vaccination with both vaccines.

Clinical Trials Registration: NCT03339713.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa409DOI Listing
February 2021

Single-shot Ad26 vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques.

Nature 2020 10 30;586(7830):583-588. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

A safe and effective vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be required to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For global deployment and pandemic control, a vaccine that requires only a single immunization would be optimal. Here we show the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a single dose of adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector-based vaccines expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein in non-human primates. Fifty-two rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were immunized with Ad26 vectors that encoded S variants or sham control, and then challenged with SARS-CoV-2 by the intranasal and intratracheal routes. The optimal Ad26 vaccine induced robust neutralizing antibody responses and provided complete or near-complete protection in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Titres of vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies correlated with protective efficacy, suggesting an immune correlate of protection. These data demonstrate robust single-shot vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates. The optimal Ad26 vector-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, termed Ad26.COV2.S, is currently being evaluated in clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2607-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581548PMC
October 2020

Adenovector 26 encoded prefusion conformation stabilized RSV-F protein induces long-lasting Th1-biased immunity in neonatal mice.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 12;5:49. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands.

While RSV is a major cause of respiratory morbidity in infants, vaccine development is hindered by the immaturity and Th2-bias of the infant immune system and the legacy of enhanced respiratory disease (ERD) after RSV infection following immunization with formalin inactivated (FI)-RSV vaccine in earlier clinical trials. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that an adenoviral vector-based RSV F vaccine candidate (Ad26.RSV.FA2) induces Th1-biased protective immune responses, without signs of ERD upon subsequent RSV challenge. We here developed an Ad26 vector encoding the RSV F protein stabilized in its prefusion conformation (Ad26.RSV.preF). In adult mice, Ad26.RSV.preF induced superior, Th1-biased IgG2a-dominated humoral responses as compared to Ad26.RSV.FA2, while maintaining the strong Th1-biased cellular responses. Similar to adult mice, Ad26.RSV.preF induced robust and durable humoral immunity in neonatal mice, again characterized by IgG2a-dominated RSV F-binding antibodies, and high and stable virus-neutralizing titers. In addition, vaccine-elicited cellular immune responses were durable and characterized by IFN-γ-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, with a profound Th1 bias. In contrast, immunization of neonatal mice with FI-RSV resulted in IgG1 RSV F-binding antibodies associated with a Th2 phenotype, no detectable virus-neutralizing antibodies, and a Th2-biased cellular response. These results are supportive for the clinical development of Ad26.RSV.preF for use in infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-0200-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293210PMC
June 2020

Phase 1 Safety and Immunogenicity Study of a Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine With an Adenovirus 26 Vector Encoding Prefusion F (Ad26.RSV.preF) in Adults Aged ≥60 Years.

J Infect Dis 2020 08;222(6):979-988

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Background: Despite the high disease burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in older adults, there is no approved vaccine. We evaluated the experimental RSV vaccine, Ad26.RSV.preF, a replication-incompetent adenovirus 26 vector encoding the F protein stabilized in prefusion conformation.

Methods: This phase 1 clinical trial was performed in healthy adults aged ≥60 years. Seventy-two participants received 1 or 2 intramuscular injections of low-dose (LD; 5 × 1010 vector particles) or high-dose (HD; 1 × 1011 vector particles) Ad26.RSV.preF vaccine or placebo, with approximately 12 months between doses and 2-year follow-up for safety and immunogenicity outcomes.

Results: Solicited adverse events were reported by 44% of vaccine recipients and were transient and mild or moderate in intensity. No serious adverse events were related to vaccination. After the first vaccination, geometric mean titers for RSV-A2 neutralization increased from baseline (432 for LD and 512 for HD vaccine) to day 29 (1031 for LD and 1617 for HD). Pre-F-specific antibody geometric mean titers and median frequencies of F-specific interferon γ-secreting T cells also increased substantially from baseline. These immune responses were still maintained above baseline levels 2 years after immunization and could be boosted with a second immunization at 1 year.

Conclusions: Ad26.RSV.preF (LD and HD) had an acceptable safety profile and elicited sustained humoral and cellular immune responses after a single immunization in older adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa193DOI Listing
August 2020

Safety and immunogenicity of Ad26 and MVA vaccines in acutely treated HIV and effect on viral rebound after antiretroviral therapy interruption.

Nat Med 2020 04 23;26(4):498-501. Epub 2020 Mar 23.

SEARCH, Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, Bangkok, Thailand.

We administered Ad26, modified vaccinia Ankara vectors containing mosaic HIV-1 antigens or placebo in 26 individuals who initiated antiretroviral therapy during acute human immunodeficiency virus infection as an exploratory study to determine the safety and duration of viremic control after treatment interruption. The vaccine was safe and generated robust immune responses, but delayed time to viral rebound compared to that in placebo recipients by only several days and did not lead to viremic control after treatment interruption (clinical trial NCT02919306).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0774-yDOI Listing
April 2020

Comparison of shortened mosaic HIV-1 vaccine schedules: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 trial (IPCAVD010/HPX1002) and a preclinical study in rhesus monkeys (NHP 17-22).

Lancet HIV 2020 06 17;7(6):e410-e421. Epub 2020 Feb 17.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, Leiden, Netherlands.

Background: Current efficacy studies of a mosaic HIV-1 prophylactic vaccine require four vaccination visits over one year, which is a complex regimen that could prove challenging for vaccine delivery at the community level, both for recipients and clinics. In this study, we evaluated the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of shorter, simpler regimens of trivalent Ad26.Mos.HIV expressing mosaic HIV-1 Env/Gag/Pol antigens combined with aluminium phosphate-adjuvanted clade C gp140 protein.

Methods: We did this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 trial (IPCAVD010/HPX1002) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, USA. We included healthy, HIV-uninfected participants (aged 18-50 years) who were considered at low risk for HIV infection and had not received any vaccines in the 14 days before study commencement. We randomly assigned participants via a computer-generated randomisation schedule and interactive web response system to one of three study groups (1:1:1) testing different regimens of trivalent Ad26.Mos.HIV (5 × 10 viral particles per 0·5 mL) combined with 250 μg adjuvanted clade C gp140 protein. They were then assigned to treatment or placebo subgroups (5:1) within each of the three main groups. Participants and investigators were masked to treatment allocation until the end of the follow-up period. Group 1 received Ad26.Mos.HIV alone at weeks 0 and 12 and Ad26.Mos.HIV plus adjuvanted gp140 at weeks 24 and 48. Group 2 received Ad26.Mos.HIV plus adjuvanted gp140 at weeks 0, 12, and 24. Group 3 received Ad26.Mos.HIV alone at week 0 and Ad26.Mos.HIV plus adjuvanted gp140 at weeks 8 and 24. Participants in the control group received 0·5 mL of 0·9% saline. All study interventions were administered intramuscularly. The primary endpoints were Env-specific binding antibody responses at weeks 28, 52, and 72 and safety and tolerability of the vaccine regimens for 28 days after the injection. All participants who received at least one vaccine dose or placebo were included in the safety analysis; immunogenicity was analysed using the per-protocol population. The IPCAVD010/HPX1002 trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02685020. We also did a parallel preclinical study in rhesus monkeys to test the protective efficacy of the shortened group 3 regimen.

Findings: Between March 7, 2016, and Aug 19, 2016, we randomly assigned 36 participants to receive at least one dose of study vaccine or placebo, ten to each vaccine group and two to the corresponding placebo group. 30 (83%) participants completed the full study, and six (17%) discontinued it prematurely because of loss to follow-up, withdrawal of consent, investigator decision, and an unrelated death from a motor vehicle accident. The two shortened regimens elicited comparable antibody titres against autologous clade C Env at peak immunity to the longer, 12-month regimen: geometric mean titre (GMT) 41 007 (95% CI 17 959-93 636) for group 2 and 49 243 (29 346-82 630) for group 3 at week 28 compared with 44 590 (19 345-102 781) for group 1 at week 52). Antibody responses remained increased (GMT >5000) in groups 2 and 3 at week 52 but were highest in group 1 at week 72. Antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, Env-specific IgG3, tier 1A neutralising activity, and broad cellular immune responses were detected in all groups. All vaccine regimens were well tolerated. Mild-to-moderate pain or tenderness at the injection site was the most commonly reported solicited local adverse event, reported by 28 vaccine recipients (93%) and two placebo recipients (33%). Grade 3 solicited systemic adverse events were reported by eight (27%) vaccine recipients and no placebo recipients; the most commonly reported grade 3 systemic symptoms were fatigue, myalgia, and chills. The shortened group 3 regimen induced comparable peak immune responses in 30 rhesus monkeys as in humans and resulted in an 83% (95% CI 38·7-95, p=0·004 log-rank test) reduction in per-exposure acquisition risk after six intrarectal challenges with SHIV-SF162P3 at week 54, more than 6 months after final vaccination.

Interpretation: Short, 6-month regimens of a mosaic HIV-1 prophylactic vaccine elicited robust HIV-specific immune responses that were similar to responses elicited by a longer, 12-month schedule. Preclinical data showed partial protective efficacy of one of the short vaccine regimens in rhesus monkeys. Further clinical studies are required to test the suitability of the shortened vaccine regimens in humans. Such shortened regimens would be valuable to increase vaccine delivery at the community level, particularly in resource-limited settings.

Funding: Ragon Institute (Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University; Cambridge, MA, USA) and Janssen Vaccines & Prevention (Leiden, Netherlands).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30001-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7297076PMC
June 2020

A vaccine-induced gene expression signature correlates with protection against SIV and HIV in multiple trials.

Sci Transl Med 2019 08;11(507)

U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.

Current HIV vaccines are only partially efficacious, presenting an opportunity to identify correlates of protection and, thereby, potential insight into mechanisms that prevent HIV acquisition. Two independent preclinical challenge studies in nonhuman primates (NHPs) previously showed partial efficacy of a mosaic adenovirus 26 (Ad26)-based HIV-1 vaccine candidate. To investigate the basis of this protection, we performed whole transcriptomics profiling by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) in sorted lymphocytes from peripheral blood samples taken during these studies at different time points after vaccination but before challenge. We observed a transcriptional signature in B cells that associated with protection from acquisition of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or the simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) in both studies. Strong antibody responses were elicited, and genes from the signature for which expression was enriched specifically associated with higher magnitude of functional antibody responses. The same gene expression signature also associated with protection in RV144 in the only human HIV vaccine trial to date that has shown efficacy and in two additional NHP studies that evaluated similar canarypox-based vaccine regimens. A composite gene expression score derived from the gene signature was one of the top-ranked correlates of protection in the NHP vaccine studies. This study aims to bridge preclinical and clinical data with the identification of a gene signature in B cells that is associated with protection from SIV and HIV infection by providing a new approach for evaluating future vaccine candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw4236DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7383941PMC
August 2019

Lower Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Responses in Female Versus Male HIV-1 Infected Injecting Drug Users.

Viruses 2019 04 25;11(4). Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Department of Experimental Immunology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Understanding the factors involved in the development of broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) responses in natural infection can guide vaccine design aimed at eliciting protective bNAb responses. Most of the studies to identify and study the development of bNAb responses have been performed in individuals who had become infected via homo- or heterosexual HIV-1 transmission; however, the prevalence and characteristics of bNAb responses in injecting drug users (IDUs) have been underrepresented. We retrospectively studied the prevalence of bNAb responses in HIV-1 infected individuals in the Amsterdam Cohort, including 50 male and 35 female participants who reported injecting drug use as the only risk factor. Our study revealed a significantly lower prevalence of bNAb responses in females compared to males. Gender, transmission route and CD4+ count at set point, but not viral load, were independently associated with the development of bNAb responses in IDUs. To further explore the influences of gender in the setting of IDU, we also looked into the Swiss 4.5k Screen. There we observed lower bNAb responses in female IDUs as well. These results reveal that the emergence of bNAbs may be dependent on multiple factors, including gender. Therefore, the effect of gender on the development of bNAb responses is a factor that should be taken into account when designing vaccine efficacy trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11040384DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521154PMC
April 2019

An inactivated poliovirus vaccine using Sabin strains produced on the serum-free PER.C6® cell culture platform is immunogenic and safe in a non-human primate model.

Vaccine 2018 11 9;36(46):6979-6987. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Janssen Vaccines and Prevention BV, Archimedesweg 4-6, 2333CN Leiden, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: The World Health Organization recommends the development of affordable next-generation inactivated poliovirus vaccines (IPV) using attenuated poliovirus Sabin strains. Previously, we introduced a novel PER.C6® cell culture platform, which allows for high yield production of an affordable trivalent Sabin IPV vaccine.

Methods: Immunogenicity and safety of this novel PER.C6®-based Sabin-IPV (sIPV) was assessed in rats and non-human primates (NHPs). NHPs received one of four different dose dilutions vaccine according to current human schedule (three prime-immunizations and one boost immunization). For comparison, NHPs received commercially available reference Salk IPV or sIPV.

Results: Dose-dependent immunogenicity and good tolerability was observed for the PER.C6®-based sIPV formulations in rats and NHPs. In NHPs, the lowest tested dose that induced anti-Sabin virus-neutralizing antibody titers that were non-inferior to commercial sIPV after three immunizations was 5-7.5-25 D-antigen units for type 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Discussion: PER.C6®-based sIPV induced comparable immunogenicity to commercial Salk IPV and sIPV vaccines in NHPs. Together with the absence of any preclinical safety signals, these data warrant further testing in clinical trials. sIPV produced on the PER.C6® cell platform could be one solution to the need for an affordable and immunogenic IPV to achieve and maintain global polio eradication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.068DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6219454PMC
November 2018

Adenoviral vector type 26 encoding Zika virus (ZIKV) M-Env antigen induces humoral and cellular immune responses and protects mice and nonhuman primates against ZIKV challenge.

PLoS One 2018 24;13(8):e0202820. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands.

In 2015, there was a large outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) in Brazil. Despite its relatively mild impact on healthy adults, ZIKV infection during pregnancy has been associated with severe birth defects. Currently, there is no ZIKV vaccine available, but several vaccine candidates based on the ZIKV membrane (M) and envelope (Env) structural proteins showed promising results in preclinical and clinical studies. Here, the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a non-replicating adenoviral vector type 26 (Ad26) that encodes the ZIKV M-Env antigens (Ad26.ZIKV.M-Env) was evaluated in mice and non-human primates (NHP). Ad26.ZIKV.M-Env induced strong and durable cellular and humoral immune responses in preclinical models. Humoral responses were characterized by Env-binding and ZIKV neutralizing antibody responses while cellular responses were characterized by ZIKV reactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Importantly, a single immunization with a very low dose of 4x107 vp of Ad26.ZIKV.M-Env protected mice from ZIKV challenge. In NHP, a single immunization with a typical human dose of 1x1011 vp of Ad26.ZIKV.M-Env also induced Env-binding and ZIKV neutralizing antibodies and Env and M specific cellular immune responses that associated with complete protection against viremia from ZIKV challenge as measured in plasma and other body fluids. Together these data provide the rationale to progress the Ad26.ZIKV.M-Env candidate vaccine to clinical testing.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202820PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6108497PMC
February 2019

Evaluation of a mosaic HIV-1 vaccine in a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1/2a clinical trial (APPROACH) and in rhesus monkeys (NHP 13-19).

Lancet 2018 07 6;392(10143):232-243. Epub 2018 Jul 6.

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, New York City, NY, USA.

Background: More than 1·8 million new cases of HIV-1 infection were diagnosed worldwide in 2016. No licensed prophylactic HIV-1 vaccine exists. A major limitation to date has been the lack of direct comparability between clinical trials and preclinical studies. We aimed to evaluate mosaic adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26)-based HIV-1 vaccine candidates in parallel studies in humans and rhesus monkeys to define the optimal vaccine regimen to advance into clinical efficacy trials.

Methods: We conducted a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1/2a trial (APPROACH). Participants were recruited from 12 clinics in east Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the USA. We included healthy, HIV-1-uninfected participants (aged 18-50 years) who were considered at low risk for HIV-1 infection. We randomly assigned participants to one of eight study groups, stratified by region. Participants and investigators were blinded to the treatment allocation throughout the study. We primed participants at weeks 0 and 12 with Ad26.Mos.HIV (5 × 10 viral particles per 0·5 mL) expressing mosaic HIV-1 envelope (Env)/Gag/Pol antigens and gave boosters at weeks 24 and 48 with Ad26.Mos.HIV or modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA; 10 plaque-forming units per 0·5 mL) vectors with or without high-dose (250 μg) or low-dose (50 μg) aluminium adjuvanted clade C Env gp140 protein. Those in the control group received 0·9% saline. All study interventions were administered intramuscularly. Primary endpoints were safety and tolerability of the vaccine regimens and Env-specific binding antibody responses at week 28. Safety and immunogenicity were also assessed at week 52. All participants who received at least one vaccine dose or placebo were included in the safety analysis; immunogenicity was analysed using the per-protocol population. We also did a parallel study in rhesus monkeys (NHP 13-19) to assess the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of these vaccine regimens against a series of six repetitive, heterologous, intrarectal challenges with a rhesus peripheral blood mononuclear cell-derived challenge stock of simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV-SF162P3). The APPROACH trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02315703.

Findings: Between Feb 24, 2015, and Oct 16, 2015, we randomly assigned 393 participants to receive at least one dose of study vaccine or placebo in the APPROACH trial. All vaccine regimens demonstrated favourable safety and tolerability. The most commonly reported solicited local adverse event was mild-to-moderate pain at the injection site (varying from 69% to 88% between the different active groups vs 49% in the placebo group). Five (1%) of 393 participants reported at least one grade 3 adverse event considered related to the vaccines: abdominal pain and diarrhoea (in the same participant), increased aspartate aminotransferase, postural dizziness, back pain, and malaise. The mosaic Ad26/Ad26 plus high-dose gp140 boost vaccine was the most immunogenic in humans; it elicited Env-specific binding antibody responses (100%) and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis responses (80%) at week 52, and T-cell responses at week 50 (83%). We also randomly assigned 72 rhesus monkeys to receive one of five different vaccine regimens or placebo in the NHP 13-19 study. Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 boost induced similar magnitude, durability, and phenotype of immune responses in rhesus monkeys as compared with humans and afforded 67% protection against acquisition of SHIV-SF162P3 infection (two-sided Fisher's exact test p=0·007). Env-specific ELISA and enzyme-linked immunospot assay responses were the principal immune correlates of protection against SHIV challenge in monkeys.

Interpretation: The mosaic Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 HIV-1 vaccine induced comparable and robust immune responses in humans and rhesus monkeys, and it provided significant protection against repetitive heterologous SHIV challenges in rhesus monkeys. This vaccine concept is currently being evaluated in a phase 2b clinical efficacy study in sub-Saharan Africa (NCT03060629).

Funding: Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, National Institutes of Health, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, US Department of Defense, and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31364-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6192527PMC
July 2018