Background and aims: Peripartum transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) from an infected mother to the child can be prevented in most but not all cases by immediate vaccination of the newborn. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of two licensed hepatitis B vaccines, Engerix-B versus Sci-B-Vac, in preventing peripartum HBV transmission.Methods: A prospective multicenter randomized controlled study in 4 delivery centers was performed from 2009 to 2014. HBsAg positive pregnant women and their newborns were recruited at the delivery rooms. All newborns received Hepatitis B Immune Globulin within 10 h after birth, as well as active HBV vaccination at 0, 1 and 6 months of age. Maternal assessment at delivery included transaminases, blood count, international normalized ratio and viral status. Infants were tested for HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HBs at 12 months of age. Results: In the intention to treat (ITT), 171 infant and mother pairs fulfilled the study enrollment criteria and completed follow up, 82 received Engerix-B and 89 Sci-B-Vac. Maternal parameters and viral status were similar in both groups. At 12 months of age, the Sci-B-Vac group had lower HBsAg carriage rates (1/89, 1.1%) than the Engerix-B group (5/82, 6.1%) with borderline significance (risk difference of -0.05, 95% CI -0.11-0.007, t-test = 0.05), and borderline significance lower vaccine failure rates with anti-HBs < 10 mIU/mL in the Sci-B-Vac (2/89, 2.2%) than in the Engerix-B (8/82, 9.8%, p = 0.05). Higher seroprotection rates were found in the Sci-B-Vac group with all anti-HBs titer stratifications of >10 mIU/mL (p = 0.05), >100 mIU/mL (p = 0.05) and >1000 mIU/mL (p = 0.01). Active/passive vaccination was effective in 10/13 cases withmaternal HBV DNA levels > 7 log10 IU/mL up to 9.5 log10 IU/mL, but failed in 3 cases for unknown reasons. Conclusion: Sci-B-Vac was superior to Engerix-B in preventing peripartum HBV transmission in neonates from HBsAg+ mothers and induces significantly higher anti-HBs levels. NIH registration number: NCT 01133184.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: The study was supported by the grant (GL595/2-1) to DG and RS from the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, German Research foundation). The National Reference Center for Hepatitis B viruses and Hepatitis D viruses at the Justus Liebig University Giessen is supported by the German Ministry of Health via the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany.
© 2021 by the authors.