The results of the study have been published in the journal The Lancet Microbe.
Rabies kills around 60 000 people each year. ChAdOx2 RabG, a simian adenovirus-vectored rabies vaccine candidate, might have potential to provide low-cost single-dose pre-exposure rabies prophylaxis. This first-in-human study aimed to evaluate its safety and immunogenicity in healthy adults. We did a single-centre phase 1 study of ChAdOx2 RabG, administered as a single intramuscular dose, with non-randomised open-label dose escalation at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, Oxford, UK. Healthy adults were sequentially allocated to groups receiving low (5 × 109 viral particles), middle (2·5 × 1010 viral particles), and high doses (5 x 1010 viral particles) of ChAdOx2 RabG and were followed up to day 56 after vaccination. The primary objective was to assess safety. The secondary objective was to assess immunogenicity with the internationally standardised rabies virus neutralising antibody assay. In an optional follow-up phase 1 year after enrolment, we measured antibody maintenance then administered a licensed rabies vaccine (to simulate post-exposure prophylaxis) and measured recall responses. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04162600, and is now closed to new participants. Between Jan 2 and Oct 28, 2020, 12 adults received low (n=3), middle (n=3), and high doses (n=6) of ChAdOx2 RabG. Participants reported predominantly mild-to-moderate reactogenicity. There were no serious adverse events. Virus neutralising antibody concentrations exceeded the recognised correlate of protection (0·5 IU/mL) in three middle-dose recipients and six high-dose recipients within 56 days of vaccination (median 18·0 IU/mL). The median peak virus neutralising antibody concentrations within 56 days were 0·7 IU/mL (range 0·0–54·0 IU/mL) for the low-dose group, 18·0 IU/mL (0·7–18·0 IU/mL) for the middle-dose group, and 18·0 IU/mL (6·0–486·0 IU/mL) for the high-dose group. Nine participants returned for the additional follow-up after 1 year. Of these nine participants, virus neutralising antibody titres of more than 0·5 IU/mL were maintained in six of seven who had received middle-dose or high-dose ChAdOx2 RabG. Within 7 days of administration of the first dose of a licensed rabies vaccine, nine participants had virus neutralising antibody titres of more than 0·5 IU/mL. In this study, ChAdOx2 RabG showed an acceptable safety and tolerability profile and encouraging immunogenicity, supporting further clinical evaluation.