Efficacy of a Russian-backbone live attenuated influenza vaccine among children in Senegal: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

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Background Live attenuated influenza vaccines have been shown to significantly reduce influenza in diverse populations of children, but no efficacy studies have been done in resource-poor tropical settings. In Senegal, we assessed the efficacy and safety of a live attenuated influenza vaccine based on Russian-derived master donor viruses and licensed as a single dose. Methods In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group, single-centre trial done near Niakhar, Senegal, generally healthy children aged 2–5 years were randomly allocated (2:1) to receive a single intranasal dose of masked trivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine or placebo. The allocation sequence was computer-generated by PATH with block sizes of three. The manufacturer provided vaccine and placebo in coded vials to preserve blinding. Participants were monitored through the predictable influenza season in Senegal for adverse events and signs and symptoms of influenza using weekly home visits and surveillance in clinics. The primary outcome was symptomatic laboratory-confirmed influenza caused by any strain and occurring from 15 days post-vaccination to the end of the study. The primary analysis was per protocol. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01854632. Findings Between May 23, and July 1, 2013, 1761 children were randomly assigned, 1174 to receive live attenuated influenza vaccine and 587 to receive placebo. The per-protocol set included 1173 vaccinees and 584 placebo recipients followed up to Dec 20, 2013. Symptomatic influenza was laboratory-confirmed in 210 (18%) of 1173 recipients of live attenuated influenza vaccine and 105 (18%) of placebo recipients, giving a vaccine efficacy of 0·0% (95% CI −26·4 to 20·9). Adverse events were balanced between the study groups. Two girls who had received live attenuated influenza vaccine died, one due to anasarca 12 days postvaccination and one due to malnutrition 70 days postvaccination. Interpretation Live attenuated influenza vaccine was well tolerated in young children in Senegal, but did not provide protection against influenza. Further study in such populations, which might experience extended periods of influenza circulation, is warranted. Funding US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.




Victor, J. C., Lewis, K. D. C., Diallo, A., Niang, M. N., Diarra, B., Dia, N., … Neuzil, K. M. (2016). Efficacy of a Russian-backbone live attenuated influenza vaccine among children in Senegal: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet Global Health, 4(12), e955–e965. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30201-7

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