Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)
BACKGROUND: Several COVID-19 vaccines have been approved. The mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty, BNT162b2; BNT) and the vector vaccine from AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria, ChAdOx1; AZ) have been widely used. mRNA vaccines induce high antibody and T cell responses, also to SARS-CoV-2 variants, but are costlier and less stable than the slightly less effective vector vaccines. For vector vaccines, heterologous vaccination schedules have generally proven more effective than homologous schedules.
METHODS: In the HEVACC three-arm, single-blinded, adaptive design study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04907331), participants between 18 and 65 years with no prior history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and a first dose of AZ or BNT were included. The AZ/AZ and the AZ/BNT arms were randomized (in a 1:1 ratio stratified by sex and trial site) and single-blinded, the third arm (BNT/BNT) was observational. We compared the reactogenicity between the study arms and hypothesized that immunogenicity was higher for the heterologous AZ/BNT compared to the homologous AZ/AZ regimen using neutralizing antibody titers as primary endpoint.
FINDINGS: This interim analysis was conducted after 234 participants had been randomized and 254 immunized (N=109 AZ/AZ, N=115 AZ/BNZ, N=30 BNT/BNT). Heterologous AZ/BNT vaccination was well tolerated without study-related severe adverse events. Neutralizing antibody titers on day 30 were statistically significant higher in the AZ/BNT and the BNT/BNT groups than in the AZ/AZ group, for B.1.617.2 (Delta) AZ/AZ median reciprocal titer 75.9 (99.9% CI 58.0 - 132.5), AZ/BNT 571.5 (99.9% CI 396.6 - 733.1), and BNT/BNT 404.5 (99.9% CI 68.3 - 1024). Similarly, the frequency and multifunctionality of spike-specific T cell responses was comparable between the AZ/BNT and the BNT/BNT groups, but lower in the AZ/AZ vaccinees.
INTERPRETATION: This study clearly shows the immunogenicity and safety of heterologous AZ/BNT vaccination and encourages further studies on heterologous vaccination schedules.
FUNDING: This work was supported by the Medical University of Innsbruck, and partially funded by NIAID contracts No. 75N9301900065, 75N93021C00016, and 75N93019C00051.
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