Safety and tolerability of HIV-1 multiantigen pDNA vaccine given with IL-12 plasmid DNA via electroporation, boosted with a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus HIV Gag vaccine in healthy volunteers in a randomized, controlled clinical trial

Elizaga, Marnie L.; Li, Shuying S.; Kochar, Nidhi K.; Wilson, Gregory J.; Allen, Mary A.; Tieu, Hong Van N.; Frank, Ian; Sobieszczyk, Magdalena; Cohen, Kristen W.; Sanchez, Brittany; Latham, Theresa E.; Clarke, David K.; Egan, Michael A.; Eldridge, John H.; Hangman, Drew; Xu, Rong; Ota-Setlik, Ayuko; McElrath, M. Juliana; Hay, Christine Mhorag; NIAID HIV Vaccine Trials Network

The addition of plasmid cytokine adjuvants, electroporation, and live attenuated viral vectors may further optimize immune responses to DNA vaccines in heterologous prime-boost combinations. The objective of this study was to test the safety and tolerability of a novel prime-boost vaccine regimen incorporating these strategies with different doses of IL-12 plasmid DNA adjuvant.

In a phase 1 study, 88 participants received an HIV-1 multiantigen (gag/pol, env, nef/tat/vif) DNA vaccine (HIV-MAG, 3000 μg) co-administered with IL-12 plasmid DNA adjuvant at 0, 250, 1000, or 1500 μg (N = 22/group) given intramuscularly with electroporation (Ichor TriGrid™ Delivery System device) at 0, 1 and 3 months; followed by attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus, serotype Indiana, expressing HIV-1 Gag (VSV-Gag), 3.4 ⊆ 107 plaque-forming units (PFU), at 6 months; 12 others received placebo. Injections were in both deltoids at each timepoint. Participants were monitored for safety and tolerability for 15 months.

The dose of IL-12 pDNA did not increase pain scores, reactogenicity, or adverse events with the co-administered DNA vaccine, or following the VSV-Gag boost. Injection site pain and reactogenicity were common with intramuscular injections with electroporation, but acceptable to most participants. VSV-Gag vaccine often caused systemic reactogenicity symptoms, including a viral syndrome (in 41%) of fever, chills, malaise/fatigue, myalgia, and headache; and decreased lymphocyte counts 1 day after vaccination.

HIV-MAG DNA vaccine given by intramuscular injection with electroporation was safe at all doses of IL-12 pDNA. The VSV-Gag vaccine at this dose was associated with fever and viral symptoms in some participants, but the vaccine regimens were safe and generally well-tolerated.


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October 22, 2018