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BACKGROUND: Use of oral live-attenuated polio vaccines (OPV), and injected inactivated polio vaccines (IPV) has almost achieved global eradication of wild polio viruses. To address the goals of achieving and maintaining global eradication and minimising the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-derived polioviruses, we tested novel monovalent oral type-2 poliovirus (OPV2) vaccine candidates that are genetically more stable than existing OPVs, with a lower risk of reversion to neurovirulence. Our study represents the first in-human testing of these two novel OPV2 candidates. We aimed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of these vaccines, the presence and extent of faecal shedding, and the neurovirulence of shed virus. METHODS: In this double-blind, single-centre phase 1 trial, we isolated participants in a purpose-built containment facility at the University of Antwerp Hospital (Antwerp, Belgium), to minimise the risk of environmental release of the novel OPV2 candidates. Participants, who were recruited by local advertising, were adults (aged 18-50 years) in good health who had previously been vaccinated with IPV, and who would not have any contact with immunosuppressed or unvaccinated people for the duration of faecal shedding at the end of the study. The first participant randomly chose an envelope containing the name of a vaccine candidate, and this determined their allocation; the next 14 participants to be enrolled in the study were sequentially allocated to this group and received the same vaccine. The subsequent 15 participants enrolled after this group were allocated to receive the other vaccine. Participants and the study staff were masked to vaccine groups until the end of the study period. Participants each received a single dose of one vaccine candidate (candidate 1, S2/cre5/S15domV/rec1/hifi3; or candidate 2, S2/S15domV/CpG40), and they were monitored for adverse events, immune responses, and faecal shedding of the vaccine virus for 28 days. Shed virus isolates were tested for the genetic stability of attenuation. The primary outcomes were the incidence and type of serious and severe adverse events, the proportion of participants showing viral shedding in their stools, the time to cessation of viral shedding, the cell culture infective dose of shed virus in virus-positive stools, and a combined index of the prevalence, duration, and quantity of viral shedding in all participants. This study is registered with EudraCT, number 2017-000908-21 and, number NCT03430349. FINDINGS: Between May 22 and Aug 22, 2017, 48 volunteers were screened, of whom 15 (31%) volunteers were excluded for reasons relating to the inclusion or exclusion criteria, three (6%) volunteers were not treated because of restrictions to the number of participants in each group, and 30 (63%) volunteers were sequentially allocated to groups (15 participants per group). Both novel OPV2 candidates were immunogenic and increased the median blood titre of serum neutralising antibodies; all participants were seroprotected after vaccination. Both candidates had acceptable tolerability, and no serious adverse events occurred during the study. However, severe events were reported in six (40%) participants receiving candidate 1 (eight events) and nine (60%) participants receiving candidate 2 (12 events); most of these events were increased blood creatinine phosphokinase but were not accompanied by clinical signs or symptoms. Vaccine virus was detected in the stools of 15 (100%) participants receiving vaccine candidate 1 and 13 (87%) participants receiving vaccine candidate 2. Vaccine poliovirus shedding stopped at a median of 23 days (IQR 15-36) after candidate 1 administration and 12 days (1-23) after candidate 2 administration. Total shedding, described by the estimated median shedding index (50% cell culture infective dose/g), was observed to be greater with candidate 1 than candidate 2 across all participants (2·8 [95% CI 1·8-3·5] vs 1·0 [0·7-1·6]). Reversion to neurovirulence, assessed as paralysis of transgenic mice, was low in isolates from those vaccinated with both candidates, and sequencing of shed virus indicated that there was no loss of attenuation in domain V of the 5'-untranslated region, the primary site of reversion in Sabin OPV. INTERPRETATION: We found that the novel OPV2 candidates were safe and immunogenic in IPV-immunised adults, and our data support the further development of these vaccines to potentially be used for maintaining global eradication of neurovirulent type-2 polioviruses. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





148 - 158


Adult, Antibodies, Viral, Double-Blind Method, Feces, Female, Humans, Immunogenicity, Vaccine, Male, Middle Aged, Poliomyelitis, Poliovirus, Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral, RNA, Viral, Single-Blind Method, Vaccines, Attenuated, Virulence, Virus Shedding, Young Adult