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BACKGROUNDIn-depth investigations of the safety and immunogenicity of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are needed. METHODIn a phase I randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled trial involving 192 healthy adults 18-59 years of age, two injections of three different doses (50 EU, 100 EU and 150 EU) of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine or the placebo were administered intramuscularly with a 2- or 4-week interval between the injections. The safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine were evaluated within 28 days. FINDINGIn this study, 191 subjects assigned to three doses groups or the placebo group completed the 28-day trial. There were 44 adverse reactions within the 28 days, most commonly mild pain and redness at the injection site or slight fatigue, and no abnormal variations were observed in 48 cytokines in the serum samples of immunized subjects. The serum samples diluted from 1:32 to 1:4096 and incubated with the virus did not show antibody-dependent enhancement effects (ADEs) with regard to human natural killer cells, macrophages or dendritic cells. At day 14, the seroconversion rates had reached 92%, 100% and 96% with geometric mean titers (GMTs) of 18.0, 54.5 and 37.1, and at day 28, the seroconversion rates had reached 80%, 96% and 92% with GMTs of 10.6, 15.4 and 19.6in 0, 14 and 0, 28 procedures, respectively. Seroconversion was associated with the synchronous upregulation of ELISA antibodies against the S protein, N protein and virion and a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response. Transcriptome analysis shaped the genetic diversity of immune response induced by the vaccine. INTERPRETATIONIn a population aged 18-59 years, this inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was safe and immunogenic. Trial registrationNCT04412538 FUNDINGThe National Key R&D Program of China (2020YFC0849700), the Program of Chinese Academy of Medicine Science and the Major Science and Technology Special Projects of Yunnan Province.

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