Marburg vaccine shows promising results in first-in-human study

Jan. 31, 2023
NIAID research.

A newly published paper in The Lancet shows that an experimental vaccine against Marburg virus (MARV) was safe and induced an immune response in a small, first-in-human clinical trial. The vaccine, developed by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, could someday be an important tool to respond to Marburg virus outbreaks.

This first-in-human, Phase 1 study tested an experimental MARV vaccine candidate, known as cAd3-Marburg, which was developed at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC). This vaccine uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus called cAd3, which can no longer replicate or infect cells, and displays a glycoprotein found on the surface of MARV to induce immune responses against the virus. The cAd3 vaccine platform demonstrated a good safety profile in prior clinical trials when used in investigational Ebola virus and Sudan virus vaccines developed by the VRC.

In this study, 40 healthy adult volunteers were enrolled at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. They received a single dose of either a low dose of the vaccine (1x1010 particle units) or a higher dose (1x1011 particle units). For safety, the volunteers were enrolled in a dose-escalation plan. Three participants received the lower dose. Then, when they did not exhibit severe adverse reactions after the first seven days, the trial proceeded to enroll the remaining 17 volunteers. The same procedure was also used for the higher dose group. Volunteers were monitored for adverse reactions to the investigational vaccine and evaluated at regular intervals for 48 weeks to track their immune responses.

The trial’s safety results were encouraging: There were no serious adverse events, and the experimental vaccine was well-tolerated. One participant in the higher dose group developed a fever following vaccination, but it resolved by the following day. In addition, the investigational vaccine appeared to induce strong, long-lasting immunity to the MARV glycoprotein: 95% of participants in the trial exhibited a robust antibody response after vaccination, and 70% maintained that response for more than 48 weeks.

NIH release

Photo 197316000 © Mykola Sosiukin | Dreamstime.com
Photo 34298902 © Alexander Raths | Dreamstime.com
Photo 25549650 © Sergey Gavrilichev | Dreamstime.com
Photo 37252335 © Yuliia Davydenko | Dreamstime.com