Copyright © 2016 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. BACKGROUND The replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine expressing a Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) glycoprotein was selected for rapid safety and immunogenicity testing before its use in West Africa. METHODS We performed three open-label, dose-escalation phase 1 trials and one randomized, double-blind, controlled phase 1 trial to assess the safety, side-effect profile, and immunogenicity of rVSV-ZEBOV at various doses in 158 healthy adults in Europe and Africa. All participants were injected with doses of vaccine ranging from 300,000 to 50 million plaque-forming units (PFU) or placebo. RESULTS No serious vaccine-related adverse events were reported. Mild-to-moderate early-onset reactogenicity was frequent but transient (median, 1 day). Fever was observed in up to 30% of vaccinees. Vaccine viremia was detected within 3 days in 123 of the 130 participants (95%) receiving 3 million PFU or more; rVSV was not detected in saliva or urine. In the second week after injection, arthritis affecting one to four joints developed in 11 of 51 participants (22%) in Geneva, with pain lasting a median of 8 days (interquartile range, 4 to 87); 2 self-limited cases occurred in 60 participants (3%) in Hamburg, Germany, and Kilifi, Kenya. The virus was identified in one synovial-fluid aspirate and in skin vesicles of 2 other vaccinees, showing peripheral viral replication in the second week after immunization. ZEBOV-glycoprotein-specific antibody responses were detected in all the participants, with similar glycoprotein-binding antibody titers but significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers at higher doses. Glycoprotein-binding antibody titers were sustained through 180 days in all participants. CONCLUSIONS In these studies, rVSV-ZEBOV was reactogenic but immunogenic after a single dose and warrants further evaluation for safety and efficacy.
New England Journal of Medicine
1647 - 1660