Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)
BACKGROUND: A phase 1, clinical trial to evaluate FINLAY-FR-1A vaccine in COVID-19 convalescent individuals was completed. Here, we report results of the phase 2, clinical trial.
METHODS: We studied 450 convalescent participants with a history of asymptomatic, mild, or moderate COVID-19 at the National Institute of Hematology and Immunology and the National Centre for Sexual Education in Havana, Cuba. The study included adults aged 19-78 years who had recovered from COVID-19 and had had a negative PCR test at least 2 months before the initiation of the study. Phase 2 was done sequentially in two stages. The first stage to assess safety comprised an open, non-controlled phase 2a study in participants aged 60-78 years who received a single dose of the FINLAY-FR-1A vaccine (50 µg of recombinant dimeric receptor binding domain [RBD]). The second stage comprised the placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 2b trial in participants aged 19-78 years, where participants were randomly assigned (4:1) into two groups: an experimental group vaccinated with a single dose of the FINLAY-FR-1A vaccine, and a control (placebo) group injected with vaccine excipient. The primary outcomes were safety, evaluated 28 days after vaccination by the occurrence of serious adverse events in all participants, and successful immune response, assessed by neutralising antibody ELISA, and defined as half-maximal surrogate virus neutralisation titres of 250 or more. Secondary endpoints included vaccine immunogenicity assessed by ELISA anti-RBD and live-virus neutralisation test. All randomly assigned participants were included in the safety analysis (safety population), and immunogenicity was evaluated in participants without study interruptions (per-protocol population). The trial is registered with the Cuban Public Registry of Clinical Trials, RPCEC00000366-En and WHO-ICTRP and is complete.
FINDINGS: From April 9, 2021, to April 17, 2021, 663 COVID-19 convalescent participants were enrolled in the study; 213 participants did not meet the selection criteria and 450 volunteers were recruited. 20 participants aged 60-78 years were included in the open, single-group, phase 2a study and 430 participants were randomly assigned to the experimental (n=344) or control groups (n=86) in the phase 2b study of participants aged 19-78 years. 19 (95%) of 20 phase 2a volunteers achieved a successful immune response after vaccination. No vaccine-associated serious adverse events were reported in the whole study population. Minor adverse events were found, the most common being pain at the injection site (105 [29%] of 364 in the intervention group; 13 [15%] of 86 in the placebo group). A successful immune response was found in 289 (81%) of 358 participants 28 days after vaccination. The vaccine elicited a greater than 31-times increase in anti-RBD-IgG antibodies compared with prevaccination rates, and the seroconversion rate was 302 (84%) of 358 on day 28 after vaccination; the geometric mean titres of live-virus neutralisation test increased from 15·4 (95% CI 10·3-23·2) to 400·3 (272·4-588·1) and high response was found against alpha, beta, and delta variants of concern.
INTERPRETATION: A single dose of the FINLAY-FR-1A vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 strengthened the pre-existing natural immunity, with excellent safety profile.
FUNDING: Cuba's Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment.
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