COVAC1 phase 2a expanded safety and immunogenicity study of a self-amplifying RNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2
Szubert AJ., Pollock KM., Cheeseman HM., Alagaratnam J., Bern H., Bird O., Boffito M., Byrne R., Cole T., Cosgrove CA., Faust SN., Fidler S., Galiza E., Hassanin H., Kalyan M., Libri V., McFarlane LR., Milinkovic A., O'Hara J., Owen DR., Owens D., Pacurar M., Rampling T., Skene S., Winston A., Woolley J., Yim YTN., Dunn DT., McCormack S., Shattock RJ.
Background: Lipid nanoparticle (LNP) encapsulated self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is well tolerated and immunogenic in SARS-CoV-2 seronegative and seropositive individuals aged 18–75. Methods: A phase 2a expanded safety and immunogenicity study of a saRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate LNP-nCoVsaRNA, was conducted at participating centres in the UK between 10th August 2020 and 30th July 2021. Participants received 1 μg then 10 μg of LNP-nCoVsaRNA, ∼14 weeks apart. Solicited adverse events (AEs) were collected for one week post-each vaccine, and unsolicited AEs throughout. Binding and neutralisating anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody raised in participant sera was measured by means of an anti-Spike (S) IgG ELISA, and SARS-CoV-2 pseudoneutralisation assay. (The trial is registered: ISRCTN17072692, EudraCT 2020-001646-20). Findings: 216 healthy individuals (median age 51 years) received 1.0 μg followed by 10.0 μg of the vaccine. 28/216 participants were either known to have previous SARS-CoV2 infection and/or were positive for anti-Spike (S) IgG at baseline. Reactogenicity was as expected based on the reactions following licensed COVID-19 vaccines, and there were no serious AEs related to vaccination. 80% of baseline SARS-CoV-2 naïve individuals (147/183) seroconverted two weeks post second immunization, irrespective of age (18–75); 56% (102/183) had detectable neutralising antibodies. Almost all (28/31) SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals had increased S IgG binding antibodies following their first 1.0 μg dose with a ≥0.5log10 increase in 71% (22/31). Interpretation: Encapsulated saRNA was well tolerated and immunogenic in adults aged 18–75 years. Seroconversion rates in antigen naïve were higher than those reported in our dose-ranging study. Further work is required to determine if this difference is related to a longer dosing interval (14 vs. 4 weeks) or dosing with 1.0 μg followed by 10.0 μg. Boosting of S IgG antibodies was observed with a single 1.0 μg injection in those with pre-existing immune responses. Funding: Grants and gifts from the Medical Research Council UKRI (MC_PC_19076), the National Institute for Health Research/Vaccine Task Force, Partners of Citadel and Citadel Securities, Sir Joseph Hotung Charitable Settlement, Jon Moulton Charity Trust, Pierre Andurand, and Restore the Earth.