BACKGROUND: The effect of malaria infection on the immunogenicity of the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-Zaire Ebola virus envelope glycoprotein (GP) vaccine (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP) (ERVEBO) is unknown.
METHODS: The Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine Against Ebola (STRIVE) vaccinated 7998 asymptomatic adults with rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP during the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic. In STRIVE's immunogenicity substudy, participants provided blood samples at baseline and at 1, 6, and 9-12 months. Anti-GP binding and neutralizing antibodies were measured using validated assays. Baseline samples were tested for malaria parasites by polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Overall, 506 participants enrolled in the immunogenicity substudy and had ≥1 postvaccination antibody titer. Of 499 participants with a result, baseline malaria parasitemia was detected in 73 (14.6%). All GP enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) geometric mean titers (GMTs) at 1, 6, and 9-12 months were above baseline, and 94.1% of participants showed seroresponse by GP-ELISA (≥2-fold rise and ≥200 ELISA units/mL), while 81.5% showed seroresponse by PRNT (≥4-fold rise) at ≥1 postvaccination assessment. In participants with baseline malaria parasitemia, the PRNT seroresponse proportion was lower, while PRNT GMTs and GP-ELISA seroresponse and GMTs showed a trend toward lower responses at 6 and 9-12 months.
CONCLUSION: Asymptomatic adults with or without malaria parasitemia had robust immune responses to rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP, persisting for 9-12 months. Responses in those with malaria parasitemia were somewhat lower.