Randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled trials (Orange)
Read on for our highlighted selection of Covid-related randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled trials from the scientific press for February 2022:
- Immunogenicity and Reactogenicity of Vaccine Boosters after Ad26.COV2.S Priming
- Heterologous versus homologous COVID-19 booster vaccination in previous recipients of two doses of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil (RHH-001): a phase 4, non-inferiority, single blind, randomised study
- Efficacy of the adjuvanted subunit protein COVID-19 vaccine, SCB-2019: a phase 2 and 3 multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial
- Effect of Subcutaneous Casirivimab and Imdevimab Antibody Combination vs Placebo on Development of Symptomatic COVID-19 in Early Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Randomized Clinical Trial
- A phase 2a clinical trial of molnupiravir in patients with COVID-19 shows accelerated SARS-CoV-2 RNA clearance and elimination of infectious virus
Immunogenicity and Reactogenicity of Vaccine Boosters after Ad26.COV2.S Priming
The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine, which was approved as a single-shot immunization regimen, has been shown to be effective against severe coronavirus disease 2019. However, this vaccine induces lower severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein (S)–specific antibody levels than those induced by messenger RNA (mRNA)–based vaccines. The immunogenicity and reactogenicity of a homologous or heterologous booster in persons who have received an Ad26.COV2.S priming dose are unclear. In this single-blind, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving health care workers who had received a priming dose of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine, the authors assessed immunogenicity and reactogenicity 28 days after a homologous or heterologous booster vaccination. The participants were assigned to receive no booster, an Ad26.COV2.S booster, an mRNA-1273 booster, or a BNT162b2 booster. The primary end point was the level of S-specific binding antibodies, and the secondary end points were the levels of neutralizing antibodies, S-specific T-cell responses, and reactogenicity. A post hoc analysis was performed to compare mRNA-1273 boosting with BNT162b2 boosting. Homologous or heterologous booster vaccination in 434 participants resulted in higher levels of S-specific binding antibodies, neutralizing antibodies, and T-cell responses than a single Ad26.COV2.S vaccination. The increase in binding antibodies was significantly larger with heterologous regimens that included mRNA-based vaccines than with the homologous booster. The mRNA-1273 booster was most immunogenic and was associated with higher reactogenicity than the BNT162b2 and Ad26.COV2.S boosters. Local and systemic reactions were generally mild to moderate in the first 2 days after booster administration. The authors concluded that
the Ad26.COV2.S and mRNA boosters had an acceptable safety profile and were immunogenic in health care workers who had received a priming dose of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine. The strongest responses occurred after boosting with mRNA-based vaccines. Boosting with any available vaccine was better than not boosting.
Sablerolles RSG, Rietdijk WJR, Goorhuis A, Postma DF, Visser LG, Geers D, Schmitz KS, Garcia Garrido HM, Koopmans MPG, Dalm VASH, Kootstra NA, Huckriede ALW, Lafeber M, van Baarle D, GeurtsvanKessel CH, de Vries RD, van der Kuy PHM; SWITCH Research Group. Immunogenicity and Reactogenicity of Vaccine Boosters after Ad26.COV2.S Priming. N Engl J Med. 2022 Jan 19 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2116747.
Heterologous versus homologous COVID-19 booster vaccination in previous recipients of two doses of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil (RHH-001): a phase 4, non-inferiority, single blind, randomised study
The inactivated whole-virion SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (CoronaVac, Sinovac) has been widely used in a two-dose schedule. In this article the authors assessed whether a third dose of the homologous or a different vaccine could boost immune responses. RHH-001 is a phase 4, participant masked, two centre, safety and immunogenicity study of Brazilian adults (18 years and older) who had received two doses of CoronaVac 6 months previously. The third heterologous dose was of either a recombinant adenoviral vectored vaccine (Ad26.COV2-S, Janssen), an mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2, Pfizer–BioNTech), or a recombinant adenoviral-vectored ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222, AstraZeneca), compared with a third homologous dose of CoronaVac. Participants were randomly assigned (5:6:5:5) by a RedCAP computer randomisation system stratified by site, age group (18–60 years or 61 years and over), and day of randomisation, with a block size of 42. The primary outcome was non-inferiority of anti-spike IgG antibodies 28 days after the booster dose in the heterologous boost groups compared with homologous regimen, using a non-inferiority margin for the geometric mean ratio (heterologous vs homologous) of 0·67. Secondary outcomes included neutralising antibody titres at day 28, local and systemic reactogenicity profiles, adverse events, and serious adverse events.
Between Aug 16, and Sept 1, 2021, 1240 participants were randomly assigned to one of the four groups, of whom 1239 were vaccinated and 1205 were eligible for inclusion in the primary analysis. Antibody concentrations were low before administration of a booster dose with detectable neutralising antibodies of 20·4% (95% CI 12·8–30·1) in adults aged 18–60 years and 8·9% (4·2–16·2) in adults 61 years or older. From baseline to day 28 after the booster vaccine, all groups had a substantial rise in IgG antibody concentrations: the geometric fold-rise was 77 (95% CI 67–88) for Ad26.COV2-S, 152 (134–173) for BNT162b2, 90 (77–104) for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and 12 (11–14) for CoronaVac. All heterologous regimens had anti-spike IgG responses at day 28 that were superior to homologous booster responses: geometric mean ratios (heterologous vs homologous) were 6·7 (95% CI 5·8–7·7) for Ad26.COV2-S, 13·4 (11·6–15·3) for BNT162b2, and 7·0 (6·1–8·1) for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. All heterologous boost regimens induced high concentrations of pseudovirus neutralising antibodies. At day 28, all groups except for the homologous boost in the older adults reached 100% seropositivity: geometric mean ratios (heterologous vs homologous) were 8·7 (95% CI 5·9–12·9) for Ad26.COV2-S vaccine, 21·5 (14·5–31·9) for BNT162b2, and 10·6 (7·2–15·6) for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Live virus neutralising antibodies were also boosted against delta (B.1.617.2) and omicron variants (B.1.1.529).
The authors concluded that antibody concentrations were low at 6 months after previous immunisation with two doses of CoronaVac. However, all four vaccines administered as a third dose induced a significant increase in binding and neutralising antibodies, which could improve protection against infection. Heterologous boosting resulted in more robust immune responses than homologous boosting and might enhance protection.
Sue Ann Costa Clemens, Lily Weckx, Ralf Clemens, Ana Verena Almeida Mendes, et al. Heterologous versus homologous COVID-19 booster vaccination in previous recipients of two doses of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil (RHH-001): a phase 4, non-inferiority, single blind, randomised study. Lancet. Published: January 21, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00094-0.
Efficacy of the adjuvanted subunit protein COVID-19 vaccine, SCB-2019: a phase 2 and 3 multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial
A range of safe and effective vaccines against SARS CoV 2 are needed to address the COVID 19 pandemic. In this article the authors aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine SCB-2019. This ongoing phase 2 and 3 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was done in adults aged 18 years and older who were in good health or with a stable chronic health condition, at 31 sites in five countries (Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, and South Africa). The participants were randomly assigned 1:1 using a centralised internet randomisation system to receive two 0·5 mL intramuscular doses of SCB-2019 (30 μg, adjuvanted with 1·50 mg CpG-1018 and 0·75 mg alum) or placebo (0·9% sodium chloride for injection supplied in 10 mL ampoules) 21 days apart. All study staff and participants were masked, but vaccine administrators were not. Primary endpoints were vaccine efficacy, measured by RT-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 of any severity with onset from 14 days after the second dose in baseline SARS-CoV-2 seronegative participants (the per-protocol population), and the safety and solicited local and systemic adverse events in the phase 2 subset. 30 174 participants were enrolled from March 24, 2021, until the cutoff date of Aug 10, 2021, of whom 30 128 received their first assigned vaccine (n=15 064) or a placebo injection (n=15 064). The per-protocol population consisted of 12 355 baseline SARS-CoV-2-naive participants (6251 vaccinees and 6104 placebo recipients). Most exclusions (13 389 [44·4%]) were because of seropositivity at baseline. There were 207 confirmed per-protocol cases of COVID-19 at 14 days after the second dose, 52 vaccinees versus 155 placebo recipients, and an overall vaccine efficacy against any severity COVID-19 of 67·2% (95·72% CI 54·3–76·8), 83·7% (97·86% CI 55·9–95·4) against moderate-to-severe COVID-19, and 100% (97·86% CI 25·3–100·0) against severe COVID-19. All COVID-19 cases were due to virus variants; vaccine efficacy against any severity COVID-19 due to the three predominant variants was 78·7% (95% CI 57·3–90·4) for delta, 91·8% (44·9–99·8) for gamma, and 58·6% (13·3–81·5) for mu. No safety issues emerged in the follow-up period for the efficacy analysis (median of 82 days [IQR 63–103]). The vaccine elicited higher rates of mainly mild-to-moderate injection site pain than the placebo after the first (35·7% [287 of 803] vs 10·3% [81 of 786]) and second (26·9% [189 of 702] vs 7·4% [52 of 699]) doses, but the rates of other solicited local and systemic adverse events were similar between the groups. The authors concluded that two doses of SCB-2019 vaccine plus CpG and alum provides notable protection against the entire severity spectrum of COVID-19 caused by circulating SAR-CoV-2 viruses, including the predominating delta variant.
Bravo L, Smolenov I, Han HH, Li P, Hosain R, Rockhold F, Clemens SAC, Roa C Jr, Borja-Tabora C, Quinsaat A, Lopez P, López-Medina E, Brochado L, Hernández EA, Reynales H, Medina T, Velasquez H, Toloza LB, Rodriguez EJ, de Salazar DIM, Rodríguez CA, Sprinz E, Cerbino-Neto J, Luz KG, Schwarzbold AV, Paiva MS, Carlos J, Montellano MEB, de Los Reyes MRA, Yu CY, Alberto ER, Panaligan MM, Salvani-Bautista M, Buntinx E, Hites M, Martinot JB, Bhorat QE, Badat A, Baccarini C, Hu B, Jurgens J, Engelbrecht J, Ambrosino D, Richmond P, Siber G, Liang J, Clemens R. Efficacy of the adjuvanted subunit protein COVID-19 vaccine, SCB-2019: a phase 2 and 3 multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2022 Jan 20:S0140-6736(22)00055-1. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00055-1.
Effect of Subcutaneous Casirivimab and Imdevimab Antibody Combination vs Placebo on Development of Symptomatic COVID-19 in Early Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Easy-to-administer anti–SARS-CoV-2 treatments may be used to prevent progression from asymptomatic infection to symptomatic disease and to reduce viral carriage. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of combination subcutaneous casirivimab and imdevimab on progression from early asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection to symptomatic COVID-19. This study represents a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial of close household contacts of a SARS-CoV-2–infected index case at 112 sites in the US, Romania, and Moldova enrolled July 13, 2020–January 28, 2021; follow-up ended March 11, 2021. Asymptomatic individuals (aged ≥12 years) were eligible if identified within 96 hours of index case positive test collection. Results from 314 individuals positive on SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase–quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) testing are reported. Individuals were randomized 1:1 to receive 1 dose of subcutaneous casirivimab and imdevimab, 1200 mg (600 mg of each; n = 158), or placebo (n = 156). The primary end point was the proportion of seronegative participants who developed symptomatic COVID-19 during the 28-day efficacy assessment period. The key secondary efficacy end points were the number of weeks of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and the number of weeks of high viral load (>4 log10 copies/mL). Among 314 randomized participants (mean age, 41.0 years; 51.6% women), 310 (99.7%) completed the efficacy assessment period; 204 were asymptomatic and seronegative at baseline and included in the primary efficacy analysis. Subcutaneous casirivimab and imdevimab, 1200 mg, significantly prevented progression to symptomatic disease (29/100 [29.0%] vs 44/104 [42.3%] with placebo; odds ratio, 0.54 [95% CI, 0.30-0.97]; P = .04; absolute risk difference, −13.3% [95% CI, −26.3% to −0.3%]). Casirivimab and imdevimab reduced the number of symptomatic weeks per 1000 participants (895.7 weeks vs 1637.4 weeks with placebo; P = .03), an approximately 5.6-day reduction in symptom duration per symptomatic participant. Treatment with casirivimab and imdevimab also reduced the number of high viral load weeks per 1000 participants (489.8 weeks vs 811.9 weeks with placebo; P = .001). The proportion of participants receiving casirivimab and imdevimab who had 1 or more treatment-emergent adverse event was 33.5% vs 48.1% for placebo, including events related (25.8% vs 39.7%) or not related (11.0% vs 16.0%) to COVID-19. The authors concluded that among asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR–positive individuals living with an infected household contact, treatment with subcutaneous casirivimab and imdevimab antibody combination vs placebo significantly reduced the incidence of symptomatic COVID-19 over 28 days.
O’Brien MP, Forleo-Neto E, Sarkar N, Isa F, Hou P, Chan KC, Musser BJ, Bar KJ, Barnabas RV, Barouch DH, Cohen MS, Hurt CB, Burwen DR, Marovich MA, Brown ER, Heirman I, Davis JD, Turner KC, Ramesh D, Mahmood A, Hooper AT, Hamilton JD, Kim Y, Purcell LA, Baum A, Kyratsous CA, Krainson J, Perez-Perez R, Mohseni R, Kowal B, DiCioccio AT, Geba GP, Stahl N, Lipsich L, Braunstein N, Herman G, Yancopoulos GD, Weinreich DM; COVID-19 Phase 3 Prevention Trial Team. Effect of Subcutaneous Casirivimab and Imdevimab Antibody Combination vs Placebo on Development of Symptomatic COVID-19 in Early Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2022 Jan 14. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.24939.
A phase 2a clinical trial of molnupiravir in patients with COVID-19 shows accelerated SARS-CoV-2 RNA clearance and elimination of infectious virus
There is an urgent need for an effective, oral, direct-acting therapeutic to block transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and prevent progression to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In a phase 2a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multicenter clinical trial, the authors evaluated the safety, tolerability, and antiviral efficacy of the nucleoside analog molnupiravir in 202 unvaccinated participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptom duration <7 days. Participants were randomized 1:1 to receive molnupiravir (200 mg) or placebo and then 3:1 to receive molnupiravir (400 or 800 mg) or placebo, orally twice daily for 5 days. Antiviral activity was assessed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs. Infectious virus was assessed by inoculation of cultured Vero cells with samples from nasopharyngeal swabs and was detected by RT-PCR. Time to viral RNA clearance (primary endpoint) was decreased in the 800-mg molnupiravir group (median 14 days) compared to the placebo group (median 15 days) (log rank P value = 0.013). Of participants receiving 800 mg of molnupiravir, 92.5% achieved viral RNA clearance compared with 80.3% of placebo recipients by study end (4 weeks). Infectious virus (secondary endpoint) was detected in swabs from 1.9% of the 800-mg molnupiravir group compared with 16.7% of the placebo group at day 3 of treatment (P = 0.016). At day 5 of treatment, infectious virus was not isolated from any participants receiving 400 or 800 mg of molnupiravir compared with 11.1% of placebo recipients (P = 0.034 and 0.027, respectively). Molnupiravir was well tolerated across all doses.
Fischer WA 2nd, Eron JJ Jr, Holman W, Cohen MS, Fang L, Szewczyk LJ, Sheahan TP, Baric R, Mollan KR, Wolfe CR, Duke ER, Azizad MM, Borroto-Esoda K, Wohl DA, Coombs RW, James Loftis A, Alabanza P, Lipansky F, Painter WP. A phase 2a clinical trial of molnupiravir in patients with COVID-19 shows accelerated SARS-CoV-2 RNA clearance and elimination of infectious virus. Sci Transl Med. 2022 Jan 19;14(628):eabl7430. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abl7430.