BACKGROUND: Influenza is a cause of febrile acute respiratory infection (FARI) in India; however, few influenza vaccine trials have been conducted in India. We assessed absolute and relative efficacy of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) and inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) among children aged 2 to 10 years in rural India through a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted over 2 years.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: In June 2015, children were randomly allocated to LAIV, IIV, intranasal placebo, or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in a 2:2:1:1 ratio. In June 2016, vaccination was repeated per original allocation. Overall, 3,041 children received LAIV (n = 1,015), IIV (n = 1,010), nasal placebo (n = 507), or IPV (n = 509). Mean age of children was 6.5 years with 20% aged 9 to 10 years. Through weekly home visits, nasal and throat swabs were collected from children with FARI and tested for influenza virus by polymerase chain reaction. The primary outcome was laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated FARI; vaccine efficacy (VE) was calculated using modified intention-to-treat (mITT) analysis by Cox proportional hazards model (PH) for each year. In Year 1, VE was 40.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) 25.2 to 51.9) for LAIV and 59.0% (95% CI 47.8 to 67.9) for IIV compared with controls; relative efficacy of LAIV compared with IIV was -46.2% (95% CI -88.9 to -13.1). In Year 2, VE was 51.9% (95% CI 42.0 to 60.1) for LAIV and 49.9% (95% CI 39.2 to 58.7) for IIV; relative efficacy of LAIV compared with IIV was 4.2% (95% CI -19.9 to 23.5). No serious adverse vaccine-attributable events were reported. Study limitations include differing dosage requirements for children between nasal and injectable vaccines (single dose of LAIV versus 2 doses of IIV) in Year 1 and the fact that immunogenicity studies were not conducted.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that LAIV and IIV vaccines were safe and moderately efficacious against influenza virus infection among Indian children.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials Registry of India CTRI/2015/06/005902.