Safety and immunogenicity of the Vi-DT typhoid conjugate vaccine in healthy volunteers in Nepal: an observer-blind, active-controlled, randomised, non-inferiority, phase 3 trial


Ganesh Kumar Rai, Tarun Saluja, Shipra Chaudhary, Dipesh Tamrakar, Piush Kanodia,
Bishnu Rath Giri, Rajeev Shrestha, Surendra Uranw, Deok Ryun Kim, Jae Seung Yang, Il-Yeon Park, Seung-Eun Kyung,  Sridhar Vemula, Jagadeesh Reddy E, Bomi Kim, Birendra Prasad Gupta, Sue Kyoung Jo, Ji Hwa Ryu,Ho Keun Park, Jong Hoon Shin, Yoonyeong Lee, Hun Kim, Jerome H Kim, Zenaida Reynoso Mojares, T Anh Wartel, Sushant Sahastrabuddhe,


Typhoid fever is an endemic disease in many low-income and middle-income countries. The 2018 WHO position paper recommends that countries should consider typhoid vaccination in high-risk groups and for outbreak control. To address the typhoid vaccine supply and demand gap, a typhoid Vi polysaccharide-diphtheria toxoid (Vi-DT) conjugate vaccine development effort was undertaken to achieve WHO prequalification and contribute to the global supply of typhoid conjugate vaccine. The main aim of this study was to show immune non-inferiority of the Vi-DT vaccine compared with the WHO prequalified Vi polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid (Vi-TT) conjugate vaccine (Typbar TCV; Bharat Biotech India, Hyderabad, India) in participants of various ages from an endemic country.

We did an observer-blind, active-controlled, randomised, non-inferiority, phase 3 trial at four hospitals in Kathmandu, Dhulikhel, Dharan, and Nepalgunj in Nepal. Eligible participants were healthy individuals aged 6 months to 45 years for whom informed consent was obtained, were willing to follow the study procedures and were available for the duration of the study. Patients with an acute or chronic illness that could interfere with interpretation of the study endpoints, or who were involved in any other clinical trial were excluded. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) by block randomisation (block size of four and eight), stratified by age (6 months to <2 years, 2 years to <18 years, and 18 years to 45 years), into one of four groups (A–D). Participants in groups A–C received a single dose (25 μg; 0·5 mL) of Vi-DT test vaccine via intramuscular injection from one of three good manufacturing practice lots (group A received lot 1, group B received lot 2, and group C received lot 3), and those in group D received a single dose (25 μg; 0·5 mL) of the Vi-TT vaccine via intramuscular injection. All participants, site staff (except for those who administered the study vaccines), and those assessing the outcomes were masked to group assignment. The co-primary endpoints were: (1) non-inferiority of immunogenicity of the Vi-DT vaccine (pooled groups A–C) versus the Vi-TT vaccine (group D), measured by the anti-Vi IgG seroconversion rate at 4 weeks after vaccination; and (2) the lot-to-lot consistency of the Vi-DT vaccine, measured by immune equivalence of the anti-Vi IgG geometric mean titre (GMT) at 4 weeks after receipt of the three Vi-DT vaccine lots (lot 1 vs lot 2, lot 1 vs lot 3, and lot 2 vs lot 3). Non-inferiority of the Vi-DT vaccine compared with the Vi-TT vaccine was shown if the lower limit of the 97·5% CI for the difference between the seroconversion rates in Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C combined versus Vi-TT vaccine group D was above the predefined non-inferiority margin of −10%. Lot-to-lot immune equivalence was shown if the upper and lower bounds of the two-sided 99·17% CI around the GMT ratio for each pairwise lot-to-lot comparison was between 0·67 and 1·50, which is the predefined equivalence margin recommended by WHO. The co-primary immunogenicity endpoints were assessed in all randomised participants who had received their assigned vaccine and had completed at least one post-baseline immunogenicity assessment. Safety was descriptively summarised by group and age strata, and was assessed in all participants who had received one dose of the investigational vaccine. The trial is registered with, NCT03933098.

Between Nov 20, 2019, and March 10, 2020, 1854 individuals were screened, of whom 1800 were enrolled and randomly assigned to groups A–D (450 participants in each group). 1786 (99·2%; 443 in group A, 450 in group B, 447 in group C, and 446 in group D) were included in the immunogenicity assessments at 4 weeks post vaccination, and all 1800 participants were included in the safety analysis. In the immunogenicity analysis, the anti-Vi-IgG seroconversion rate in all age strata was 99·33% (97·5% CI 98·61 to 99·68; 1331 of 1340 participants) in Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C and 98·88% (97·10 to 99·57; 441 of 446) in Vi-TT vaccine group D. The difference in seroconversion rates between Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C combined versus Vi-TT group D was 0·47% (97·5% CI −0·68 to 1·61), indicating non-inferiority of the Vi-DT vaccine. Anti-Vi-IgG GMT ratios at 4 weeks post-vaccination were 1·02 (99·17% CI 0·85 to 1·22) for lot 1 versus lot 2, 1·02 (0·85 to 1·23) for lot 1 versus lot 3, and 1·01 (0·84 to 1·21) for lot 2 versus lot 3, indicating lot-to-lot equivalence according to the predefined, WHO-recommended equivalence margin. The proportion of participants reporting adverse events was similar between Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C and Vi-TT vaccine group D; 260 (19·3%) of 1350 participants in Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C and 115 (25·6%) of 450 in Vi-TT vaccine group D reported solicited adverse events within 7 days after vaccination, and 208 (15·4%) in Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C and 76 (16·9%) in Vi-TT vaccine group D reported unsolicited adverse events within 4 weeks after vaccination. Seven serious adverse events (four [0·3%] participants in Vi-DT vaccine groups A–C and three [0·7%] in Vi-TT vaccine group D), including one death in the Vi-TT vaccine group, were reported during the 24-week follow-up period, none of which were considered related to the investigational product.

When administered as a single dose, the Vi-DT test vaccine was safe, immunogenic, and non-inferior to the Vi-TT vaccine at 4 weeks post vaccination. Equivalent immunogenicity of the three lots of Vi-DT vaccine was also shown, supporting the manufacturing process of this vaccine. Once prequalified by WHO, this vaccine could be an option for purchase by UN agencies.

Click here to read the article, published in The Lancet.