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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22272062


The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with immune escape ability raises the urgent need for developing cross-neutralizing vaccines against the virus. NVSI-06-08 is a potential broad-spectrum recombinant COVID-19 vaccine that integrates the antigens from multiple SARS-CoV-2 strains into a single immunogen. Here, we evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of NVSI-06-08 as a heterologous booster dose in adults previously vaccinated with the inactivated vaccine BBIBP-CorV in a randomized, double-blind, controlled, phase 2 trial conducted in the United Arab Emirates (NCT05069129). Three groups of healthy adults over 18 years of age (600 participants per group) who had administered two doses of BBIBP-CorV 4-6-month, 7-9-month and >9-month earlier, respectively, were vaccinated with either a homologous booster of BBIBP-CorV or a heterologous booster of NVSI-06-08. The primary outcome was immunogenicity and safety of booster vaccinations. The exploratory outcome was cross-reactive immunogenicity against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concerns (VOCs). The incidence of adverse reactions was low in both booster vaccinations, and the overall safety profile of heterologous boost was quite similar to that of homologous boost. Heterologous NVSI-06-08 booster was immunogenically superior to homologous booster of BBIBP-CorV. Both Neutralizing and IgG antibodies elicited by NVSI-06-08 booster were significantly higher than by the booster of BBIBP-CorV against not only SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain but also multiple VOCs. Especially, the neutralizing activity induced by NVSI-06-08 booster against the immune-evasive Beta variant was no less than that against the prototype strain, and a considerable level of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron (GMT: 367.67; 95%CI, 295.50-457.47) was induced by heterologous booster, which was substantially higher than that boosted by BBIBP-CorV (GMT: 45.03; 95%CI, 36.37-55.74). Our findings showed that NVSI-06-08 was safe and immunogenic as a booster dose following two doses of BBIBP-CorV, which was immunogenically superior to homologous boost with another dose of BBIBP-CorV. Our study also indicated that the design of hybrid antigen may provide an effective strategy for broad-spectrum vaccine developments.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21268499


BackgroundThe increased coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) breakthrough cases pose the need of booster vaccinations. In this study, we reported the safety and immunogenicity of a heterologous boost with a recombinant COVID-19 vaccine (CHO cells), named NVSI-06-07, as a third dose in participants who have previously received two doses of the inactivated vaccine (BBIBP-CorV) at pre-specified time intervals. Using homologous boost with BBIBP-CorV as control, the safety and immunogenicity of the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 against various SARS-CoV-2 strains, including Omicron, were characterized. MethodsThis study is a single-center, randomised, double-blinded, controlled phase 2 trial for heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07 in BBIBP-CorV recipients from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Healthy adults (aged [≥]18 years) were enrolled and grouped by the specified prior vaccination interval of BBIBP-CorV, i.e., 1-3 months, 4-6 months or [≥]6 months, respectively, with 600 individuals per group. For each group, participants were randomly assigned at 1:1 ratio to receive either a heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07 or a homologous booster dose of BBIBP-CorV. The primary outcome was to comparatively assess the immunogenicity between heterologous and homologous boosts at 14 and 28 days post-boosting immunization, by evaluation of the geometric mean titers (GMTs) of IgG and neutralizing antibodies as well as the corresponding seroconversion rate ([≥]4-fold rise in antibody titers). The secondary outcomes were the safety profile of the boosting strategies within 30 days post vaccination. The exploratory outcome was the immune efficacy against Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs) of SARS-CoV-2. This trial is registered with, NCT05033847. FindingsA total of 1800 individuals who have received two doses of BBIBP-CorV were enrolled, of which 899 participants received a heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07 and 901 received a homologous boost for comparison. No vaccine-related serious adverse event (SAE) and no adverse events of special interest (AESI) were reported. 184 (20{middle dot}47%) participants in the heterologous boost groups and 177 (19{middle dot}64%) in the homologous boost groups reported at least one adverse reaction within 30 days. Most of the local and systemic adverse reactions reported were grades 1 (mild) or 2 (moderate), and there was no significant difference in the overall safety between heterologous and homologous boosts. Immunogenicity assays showed that the seroconversion rates in neutralizing antibodies against prototype SARS-CoV-2 elicited by heterologous boost were 89{middle dot}96% - 97{middle dot}52% on day 28 post-boosting vaccination, which was much higher than what was induced by homologous boost (36{middle dot}80% - 81{middle dot}75%). Similarly, in heterologous NVSI-06-07 booster groups, the neutralizing geometric mean titers (GMTs) against the prototype strain increased by 21{middle dot}01 - 63{middle dot}85 folds from baseline to 28 days post-boosting vaccination, whereas only 4{middle dot}20 - 16{middle dot}78 folds of increases were observed in homologous BBIBP-CorV booster group. For Omicron variant, the neutralizing antibody GMT elicited by the homologous boost of BBIBP-CorV was 37{middle dot}91 (95%CI, 30{middle dot}35-47{middle dot}35), however, a significantly higher level of neutralizing antibodies with GMT 292{middle dot}53 (95%CI, 222{middle dot}81-384{middle dot}07) was induced by the heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07, suggesting that it may serve as an effective boosting strategy combating the pandemic of Omicron. The similar results were obtained for other VOCs, including Alpha, Beta and Delta, in which the neutralizing response elicited by the heterologous boost was also significantly greater than that of the homologous boost. In the participants primed with BBIBP-CorV over 6 months, the largest increase in the neutralizing GMTs was obtained both in the heterologous and homologous boost groups, and thus the booster vaccination with over 6 months intervals was optimal. InterpretationOur findings indicated that the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 was safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in adults primed with a full regimen of BBIBP-CorV. Compared to homologous boost with a third dose of BBIBP-CorV, incremental increases in immune responses were achieved by the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 against SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain, Omicron variant, and other VOCs. The heterologous BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 prime-boosting vaccination may be valuable in preventing the pandemic of Omicron. The optimal booster strategy was the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 over 6 months after a priming with two doses of BBIBP-CorV. Research in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before this studyC_ST_ABSWe searched PubMed for clinical trials or prospective/cohort studies involving heterologous booster vaccination in non-immunocompromised population published up to Dec 25, 2021, using the term "(COVID) AND (vaccin*) AND (clinical trial OR cohort OR prospective) AND (heterologous) AND (booster OR prime-boost OR third dose)" with no language restrictions. Nine studies of heterologous prime-boost vaccinations with adenovirus-vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCov-19, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Ad26.COV2.S, Janssen) and mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2, Pfizer-BioNtech; mRNA1273, Moderna) were identified. The adenovirus-vector and mRNA heterologous prime-boost vaccination was found to be well tolerated and immunogenic. In individuals primed with adenovirus-vector vaccine, mRNA booster vaccination led to greater immune response than homologous boost. However, varied results were obtained on whether heterologous boost was immunogenically superior to the homologous mRNA prime-boost vaccination. Besides that, A preprint trial in population previously immunized with inactivated vaccines (CoronaVac, Sinovac Biotech) showed that the heterologous boost with adenovirus-vector vaccine (Convidecia, CanSino Biologicals) was safe and induced higher level of live-virus neutralizing antibodies than by the homogeneous boost. A pilot study reported that boosting with BNT162b2 in individuals primed with two doses of inactivated vaccines (BBIBP-CorV) was significantly more immunogenic than homologous vaccination with two-dose of BNT162b2. In addition, a preprint paper demonstrated that heterologous boost of ZF2001, a recombinant protein subunit vaccine, after CoronaVac or BBIBP-CorV vaccination potently improved the immunogenicity. But only a small size of samples was tested in this study and the live-virus neutralization was not detected. Till now, it is still lacking a formal clinical trial to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the heterologous prime-boost vaccination with an inactivated vaccine followed by a recombinant protein subunit-based vaccine. Added value of this studyTo our knowledge, this is the first reported result of a large-scale randomised, controlled clinical trial of heterologous prime-boost vaccination with an inactivated vaccine followed by a recombinant protein subunit vaccine. This trial demonstrated that the heterologous prime-booster vaccination with BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 is safe and immunogenic. Its immunoreactivity is similar to that of homologous vaccination with BBIBP-CorV. Compared to homologous boost, heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 in BBIBP-CorV recipients elicited significantly higher immunogenicity not only against the SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain but also against Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs). Implications of all the available evidenceBooster vaccination is considered an effective strategy to improve the protection efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and control the epidemic waves of SARS-CoV-2. Data from our trial suggested that the booster vaccination of NVSI-06-07 in BBIBP-CorV recipients significantly improved the immune responses against various SARS-CoV-2 strains, including Omicron. Due to no Omicron-specific vaccine available currently, the BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 heterologous prime-boost might serve as an effective strategy combating Omicron variant. Besides that, BBIBP-CorV has been widely inoculated in population, and thus further boosting vaccination with NVSI-06-07 is valuable in preventing the COVID-19 pandemic. But further studies are needed to assess the long-term protection of BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 prime-booster vaccination.