Rotairus gastroenteritis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among African infants and young children. A phase III, placebo-controlled, multi-centre clinical trial of a live, oral G1P human rotavirus vaccine (RIX4414) undertaken in Malawi and South Africa significantly reduced the incidence of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in the first year of life. We now report on vaccine efficacy in the Malawi cohort of children who were followed into the second year of life. A total of 1773 healthy infants were enrolled in Blantyre, Malawi into three groups. Two groups received three doses of RIX4414 or placebo at age 6, 10, and 14 weeks and the third group received placebo at 6 weeks and RIX4414 at age 10 and 14 weeks. Subjects were followed by weekly home visits for episodes of gastroenteritis until 1 year of age, and were then re-consented for further follow-up to 18-24 months of age. Severity of gastroenteritis episodes was graded according to the Vesikari scoring system. Seroconversion for anti-rotavirus IgA was determined on a subset of children by using ELISA on pre- and post-vaccine blood samples. Rotavirus VP7 (G) and VP4 (P) genotypes were determined by RT-PCR. A total of 70/1030 (6.8%, 95% CI 5.3-8.5) subjects in the pooled (2 dose plus 3 dose) RIX4414 group compared with 53/483 (11.0%, 8.3-14.1) subjects in the placebo group developed severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in the entire follow-up period (vaccine efficacy 38.1% (9.8-57.3)). The point estimate of efficacy in the second year of life (17.6%; -59.2 to 56.0) was lower than in the first year of life (49.4%; 19.2-68.3). There were non-significant trends towards a higher efficacy in the second year of life among children who received the three-dose schedule compared with the two-dose schedule, and a higher anti-rotavirus IgA seroresponse rate in the three-dose RIX4414 group. Rotavirus strains detected included genotype G12 (31%); G9 (23%); and G8 (18%); only 18% of strains belonged to the G1P genotype. While the optimal dosing schedule of RIX4414 in African infants requires further investigation, vaccination with RIX4414 significantly reduced the incidence of severe gastroenteritis caused by diverse rotavirus strains in an impoverished African population with high rotavirus disease burden in the first two years of life.
|Issue number||SUPPL. 1|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Apr 2012|