Background: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the leading cause of life-threatening infections in new-borns and may cause invasive disease, stillbirth and preterm delivery during pregnancy. While no licensed vaccine exists, maternal immunization might protect against neonatal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of a prototype vaccine consisting of the fused N-terminal domains of the AlphaC and Rib surface proteins of GBS (GBS-NN). Methods: GBS-NN was tested in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group, phase I study, in healthy non-pregnant women. A dose-escalation phase, with two doses, four weeks apart, of 10, 50 or 250 µg, administered with or without aluminium hydroxide, was initially assessed (n = 60). This was followed by a dose-confirmation study, where one dose of 100 µg adjuvanted GBS-NN was compared with two doses of either 50 or 100 µg adjuvanted GBS-NN, again administered with four weeks interval between the doses (n = 180). Safety and immunogenicity were monitored for one year. Results: GBS-NN was well tolerated with some, mostly mild, injection site reactions observed. Adjuvant significantly increased antibody concentrations and the response was boosted by a second dose. The IgG GMCs remained strongly elevated during the whole one-year duration of the study. Maximal responses occurred after two 50 µg doses, resulting in IgG GMC of 16.9 µg/ml at the primary immunological endpoint, twelve weeks after the first dose. For this regimen, 100% and 89% of the subjects achieved antibody levels above the arbitrary thresholds of 1 and 4 µg/ml, respectively. The added beneficial effect of a second dose was most pronounced for subjects with pre-existing IgG levels below the median of the entire cohort. Conclusion: The prototype GBS-NN vaccine was found to be well tolerated and highly immunogenic with an optimal regimen of two doses of 50 µg in the presence of adjuvant. Further development of a maternal vaccine based on the N-terminal domains of the alpha-like protein family of GBS is warranted (NCT02459262).
Bibliografisk informationFunding Information:
This study was supported by the European Commission 7 th Framework programme (Acronym NeoStrep, Grant agreement 601743).