Background: More effective vaccine candidates against variants of concern as a booster dose are needed in people primed with two-dose inactivated COVID-19 vaccines. Methods: This randomised, double-blinded, investigator-initiated phase 2 trial aims to evaluate immunogenicity, durability, and safety of an mRNA vaccine candidate (RQ3013) and three other platform vaccines (an adenovirus-vectored vaccine candidate [ChAdTS-S], a recombinant protein vaccine candidate [ZR202-CoV], and an inactivated vaccine [CoronaVac]) as a booster. 250 eligible volunteers, who had received a prime two-dose CoronaVac (3 to 5 weeks apart) vaccination 100-270 days before, were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1:1:1 ratio to receive a third dose of RQ3013 (30 μg mRNA per 0.15 mL), ChAdTS-S (5×1010 viral particles per 0.5 mL), ZR202-CoV (25 μg prefusion-stabilized Spike ectodomain trimer per 0.5 mL), CoronaVac (3 μg inactivated CN02 strain of SARS-CoV-2 per 0.5 mL) or placebo (0.5 mL of 0.9% sodium chloride solution) via intramuscular injection into the upper arm at a single clinical site in Kunming, China. Participants, investigators, and immunogenicity laboratory were masked to group assignment. The primary immunogenicity outcomes were geometric mean titres (GMTs) of neutralising antibodies against live SARS-CoV-2 (wild-type, delta and omicron) virus at day 0 (before vaccination), day 7, day 14 and day 28 after vaccination, as analysed in a modified intention-to-treat (mITT) population (all participants who completed their booster doses and had at least one post-dose immunogenicity data). Secondary outcomes include T cell responses against the wild-type and omicron SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. The primary safety outcome was incidence of adverse events within 14 days after the booster vaccination. This trial is registered with ChiCTR.org.cn, ChiCTR2200057758. Findings:
Between January 1, 2022, and February 28, 2022, 235 eligible participants were enrolled and vaccinated, and the primary analysis included 234 participants. At baseline, neutralising antibodies against wild-type virus, the delta, or omicron variants were low or undetectable in all groups. After the booster vaccination, GMTs of neutralising antibodies ranged from 75.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] 61.4-92.5) in CoronaVac to 950.1 (95% CI 785.4-1149.3) in RQ3013 against live wild-type SARS-CoV-2, and from 8.1 (95% CI: 6.1-10.7) in CoronaVac to 247.0 (95% CI 194.1-314.3) in RQ3013 against the omicron variant at day 14. Immunogenicities of all heterologous regimens were superior to that of homologous regimen in neutralisation against all tested SARS-CoV-2 strains, with RQ3013 showing the highest geometric mean ratios (GMRs) of 12.6, 14.7, and 31.3 against the wild-type, the delta variant and the omicron variant compared to CoronaVac at day 14 post-vaccination, respectively. Durability analysis at day 90 showed that >90% of participants in RQ3013 and ZR202-CoV were seropositive for the omicron variant while ZR202-CoV with adjuvants containing CpG showed a slightly better durability than RQ3013. T cell responses specific to the omicron variant were similar to that of the wild-type, with RQ3013 showing the highest boosting effect. Any solicited injection site or systemic adverse events reported within 14 days after vaccination were most commonly observed in RQ3013 (47/47, 100%), followed by ZR202-CoV (46/47, 97.9%) and ChAdTS-S (43/48, 89.6%), and then CoronaVac (37/46, 80.4%) and placebo (21/47, 44.7%). More than 90% of the adverse events were grade 1 (mild) or 2 (moderate) with a typical resolution time of 3 days. No grade 4 adverse events or serious adverse events were reported by study vaccines. Interpretation: Although all study vaccines boosted neutralising antibodies with no safety concerns, RQ3013 showed much stronger cross-neutralisation and cellular responses, adding more effective vaccine candidates against the omicron variant.
Volume 54, 101680, December 01, 2022