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A randomized controlled trial of antibody response to 2019-20 cell-based inactivated and egg-based live attenuated influenza vaccines in children and young adults

By Katherine V Williams, Bo Zhai, John F. Alcorn, Mary Patricia Nowalk, Min Z. Levine, Sara Kim, Brendan Flannery, Krissy Moehling Geffel, Amanda Jaber Merranko, Jennifer P Nagg, Mark Collins, Michael Susick, Karen S Clarke, Richard K Zimmerman, Judith Martin

Posted 06 Sep 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.09.02.21263043

Background: Hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) titers to the live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) are typically lower than its counterpart egg-based inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV). Similar comparisons have not been made between LAIV4 and the 4-strain, cell-culture inactivated influenza vaccine (ccIIV4). We compared healthy children and young adult HAI titers against the 2019-2020 LAIV4 and ccIIV4. Methods: Participants aged 4-21 years were randomized 1:1 to receive ccIIV4 (n =100) or LAIV4 (n=98). Blood was drawn prevaccination and on day 28 (21-35) post-vaccination. HAI assays against egg-grown A/H1N1, A/H3N2, both vaccine B strains and cell-grown A/H3N2 antigens were conducted. Outcomes were geometric mean titers (GMT) and geometric mean fold rise (GMFR) in titers. Results. GMTs to A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B/Victoria increased following both ccIIV and LAIV and to B/Yamagata following ccIIV (p<0.05). The GMFR range was 2.4-3.0 times higher for ccIIV4 than for LAIV4 (p<0.001). Within vaccine types, egg-grown A/H3N2 GMTs were higher (p<0.05) than cell-grown GMTs [ccIIV4 day 28: egg=205 (95% CI: 178-237); cell=136 (95% CI:113-165); LAIV4 day 28: egg=96 (95% CI: 83-112); cell=63 (95% CI: 58-74)]. The GMFR to A/H3N2 cell-grown and egg-grown antigens were similar. Pre-vaccination titers inversely predicted GMFR. Conclusion: The HAI response to ccIIV4 was greater than LAIV4 in this study of mostly older children, and day 0 HAI titers inversely predicted GMFR for both vaccines. For both vaccines, the A/H3N2 cell-grown antigen levels were lower than egg-grown, but the GMFR for cell-grown and egg-grown did not differ significantly within vaccine type.

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