Progress and prospects for blood-stage malaria vaccines
- Kazutoyo Miura
- Expert review of vaccines
RTS,S is a pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine candidate antigen based on the circumsporozoite surface protein of Plasmodium falciparum fused to HBsAg, incorporating a novel Adjuvant System (AS02). The first field efficacy of RTS,S/AS02 against infection was demonstrated in a trial initiated in The Gambia in 1998. This paper presents the five-year safety and immunogenicity follow up of the 306 men who were enrolled in the original trial. In the primary study men aged 18 to 45 years were randomized to receive either RTS,S/AS02 or rabies vaccine at 0, 1, 5 months followed by a booster dose at month 19. The subjects were observed for long term safety and immunogenicity continuously until month 58. Of the 153 subjects in each group at enrollment, 80 (52%) subjects in the RTS,S/AS02 group and 83 (54%) subjects in the rabies group returned for the final long-term follow-up visit at month 58. The main reason for non-attendance at month 58 was migration (76% of all drop-outs). Nine subjects in the RTS,S/AS02 group and seven in the rabies group experienced serious adverse events (SAEs) over the 58 month surveillance period, of which seven had a fatal outcome (five RTS,S/AS02 and two rabies group). None of the SAEs with fatal outcome were attributed to the study vaccine. Anti-CS antibody persistence compared to control was observed for five years, although titres had waned from post-booster levels; similar responses in anti-HBs antibody persistence were observed in initially HBsAg seronegative subjects. This study provides the first indication of the long-term safety and persistence of anti-CS and anti-HBs antibodies of the RTS,S vaccine candidate in combination with the novel AS02 Adjuvant System.