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BACKGROUND: This study aimed to evaluate AZD2816, a variant-updated COVID-19 vaccine expressing the full-length SARS-CoV-2 beta (B.1.351) variant spike protein that is otherwise similar to AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), and AZD1222 as third-dose boosters. METHODS: This phase 2/3, partly double-blinded, randomised, active-controlled study was done at 19 sites in the UK and four in Poland. Adult participants who had received a two-dose AZD1222 or mRNA vaccine primary series were randomly assigned by means of an Interactive Response Technology-Randomisation and Trial Supply Management system (1:1 within each primary-series cohort, stratified by age, sex, and comorbidities) to receive AZD1222 or AZD2816 (intramuscular injection; 5 × 1010 viral particles). Participants, investigators, and all sponsor staff members involved in study conduct were masked to randomisation. AZD1222 and AZD2816 doses were prepared by unmasked study staff members. The primary objectives were to evaluate safety and humoral immunogenicity (non-inferiority of day-29 pseudovirus neutralising antibody geometric mean titre [GMT] against ancestral SARS-CoV-2: AZD1222 booster vs AZD1222 primary series [historical controls]; margin 0·67; SARS-CoV-2-seronegative participants). This study is registered with, NCT04973449, and is completed. FINDINGS: Between June 27 and Sept 30, 2021, 1394 participants of the 1741 screened were randomly assigned to AZD1222 or AZD2816 following an AZD1222 (n=373, n=377) or mRNA vaccine (n=322, n=322) primary series. In SARS-CoV-2-seronegative participants receiving AZD1222 or AZD2816, 78% and 80% (AZD1222 primary series) and 90% and 93%, respectively (mRNA vaccine primary series) reported solicited adverse events to the end of day 8; 2%, 2%, 1%, and 1% had serious adverse events and 12%, 12%, 10%, and 11% had adverse events of special interest, respectively, to the end of day 180. The primary immunogenicity non-inferiority endpoint was met: day-29 neutralising antibody GMT ratios (ancestral SARS-CoV-2) were 1·02 (95% CI 0·90-1·14) and 3·47 (3·09-3·89) with AZD1222 booster versus historical controls (AZD1222 and mRNA vaccine primary series, respectively). Responses against beta were greater with AZD2816 versus AZD1222 (GMT ratios, AZD1222, mRNA vaccine primary series 1·84 [1·63-2·08], 2·22 [1·99-2·47]). INTERPRETATION: Both boosters were well tolerated, with immunogenicity against ancestral SARS-CoV-2 similar to AZD1222 primary-series vaccination. AZD2816 gave greater immune responses against beta versus AZD1222. FUNDING: AstraZeneca.

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Journal article


Lancet Microbe

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