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 ~  Abstract
 ~  Materials and Me...
 ~  Results
 ~  Discussion
 ~  Acknowledgement
 ~  References

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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34-38

Evaluation of immunogenicity and safety of Genevac B: A new recombinant hepatitis b vaccine in comparison with Engerix B and Shanvac B in healthy adults

Department of Microbiology, Dr. ALM Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani, Chennai - 600 113, India

Correspondence Address:
Department of Microbiology, Dr. ALM Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani, Chennai - 600 113, India

 ~ Abstract 

PURPOSE: Genevac B, a new indigenous recombinant hepatitis B vaccine was evaluated for its immunogenicity and safety in comparison with Engerix B (Smithkline Beecham Biologicals, Belgium) and Shanvac B (Shantha Biotechnics, India) in healthy adult volunteers. METHODS: While 240 study subjects were included in the Genevac B group, 80 each were the subjects for Engerix B and Shanvac B. A three dose regimen of 0,1,2 months was adopted with 20 gm dosage uniformly in all the three groups. Vaccinees were assessed during prevaccination, followup and post vaccination periods for clinical, haematological, biochemical and immunological parameters for safety and immunogenicity. RESULTS: Successful follow-up in all parameters for four months could be achieved in 92.5% (222/240) for Genevac B study subjects and the same was 85% (68/80) and 80% (64/80) for Engerix B and Shanvac B respectively. While 100% seroconversion was observed in all the three groups, the rate of seroprotectivity was 99.5% by Genevac B, 98.5% by Engerix B and 98.4% for Shanvac B. However the difference was not statistically significant (p>0.05). The GMT values of anti HBs after one month of completion of the vaccination were 735.50, 718.23 and 662.20 mIU/mL respectively. No systemic reaction was either seen or reported by the volunteers during the vaccination process of Genevac B and other two vaccines. Clinical, haematological and biochemical safety parameters remained within normal limits throughout the study period. CONCLUSION: The study confirms that Genevac B, the new recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine has the acceptable international standards of safety and immunogenicity.

How to cite this article:
Vijayakumar V, Hari R, Parthiban R, Mehta J, Thyagarajan S P. Evaluation of immunogenicity and safety of Genevac B: A new recombinant hepatitis b vaccine in comparison with Engerix B and Shanvac B in healthy adults. Indian J Med Microbiol 2004;22:34-8

How to cite this URL:
Vijayakumar V, Hari R, Parthiban R, Mehta J, Thyagarajan S P. Evaluation of immunogenicity and safety of Genevac B: A new recombinant hepatitis b vaccine in comparison with Engerix B and Shanvac B in healthy adults. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2004 [cited 2021 Mar 2];22:34-8. Available from:

Hepatitis B continues to be the most common blood borne infection in the World with the prevalence of over 350 million chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) globally[1] and is also the leading cause of chronic liver diseases and hepatocellular carcinoma. In India, there is an estimated pool of 42 million HBV carriers and 60-80% HBV mediated hepatocellular carcinoma.[2],[3] As there is no effective treatment for this disease, vaccination has proved vital for prevention and eradication of hepatitis B in developed world. The first generation hepatitis B vaccine was plasma derived[4] and was successfully used from 1992 in several countries. Emini et al and Stephenne developed hepatitis B vaccine using recombinant DNA technology produced by Saccharomyces cereviciae into which a plasmid containing the gene for HBsAg has been inserted. Two recombinant vaccines were licensed in 1986 in the United States and were produced by Merk, Sharp and Dohme and Smithkline Biologicals. A third vaccine by Pasteur-Merieux was added up in 1992.
Efforts to indigenously manufacture recombinant hepatitis B vaccines have proliferated in several developing countries including India. Shantha Biotechnics, Hyderabad introduced the first indigenously prepared genetic recombinant hepatitis B vaccine, called Shanvac B in India. Several other manufactures in India have also successfully produced and marketed their genetic recombinant hepatitis B vaccines.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the new recombinant hepatitis B vaccine called Genevac B manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune, in healthy adult volunteers in comparison with Engerix B (Smithkline Beecham Biologicals, Belgium, and Shanvac B (Shantha Biotechnics, Hyderabad).

 ~ Materials and Methods Top

The new genetic recombinant vaccine, Genevac B has used the yeast system called Hansenula polymorpha with aluminium hydroxide as adsorbent and thimerosal (1:20,000) as preservative. The vaccine in 20 g/mL strength was provided by the manufacturers for the trial. While Engerix B used Saccharomyces cereviciae as the host system, Shanvac B utilised Pichia pestoris as the expression system, the absorbent and the preservative being the same for all the three vaccines.
Study subjects
A total of 400 healthy adult volunteers were recruited into the study and were allocated into three groups. Two hundred and forty for receiving Genevac B and 80 each for Engerix B and Shanvac B. All volunteers were fully informed of this open labeled clinical trial and a written consent was obtained from all. The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board of Dr ALM PGIBMS, University of Madras, and Drug Controller General of India, New Delhi.
The inclusion criteria of the volunteers into the study were healthy adults aged between 20 and 50 years of both the sexes; signed informed consent; negative for HBsAg and Anti HBs, and Anti HBc IgM, no history of Hepatitis B vaccination in the past, no evidence of skin diseases or infection at any site. The exclusion criteria of the volunteers into the study were age below 20 years and above 50 years, HBsAg test positive and/or anti HBs positive, inability to come for follow up, enrollment in another vaccination trial, active illness, known history of Hepatitis B infection/carrier state, hepatomegaly and/or splenomegaly, known allergy to aluminium, uncontrolled coagulopathy, known immunological deficiency including HIV infection, treatment with immunosuppressors including corticosteroids, previous administration of immunoglobulins and blood derived products in the last six months or planned to receive such product in the next seven months, chronic illness like epilepsy, previous history of treatment with extracted growth hormone, and evidence of skin diseases or infection at any site.
On fulfilling the inclusion criteria, all volunteers were subjected to prevaccination clinical examination, screening for HBsAg, Anti HBc IgM, and anti HBs, besides subjecting them for complete haemogram and liver function and renal function tests. The study population was vaccinated on a subsequent visit with the respective Hepatitis B vaccines in 1 mL quantities following 0,1 and 2 months schedule by intra muscular route. Volunteers of the study were reviewed one month after the first, second and the third doses. In all these regimes, the vaccinees were subjected to clinical examination, data collection and blood sample collection for haematological, biochemical and immunological studies. The clinical examination and data collection was done by using a structured proforma to analyse any vaccine associated adverse events besides concurrent infections. The haematological tests included total and differential WBC counts, total RBC count, haemoglobin profile and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Biochemical tests for liver function were serum bilirubin (total, direct and indirect), serum transaminase (SGOT and SGPT), and serum alkaline phosphatase. The renal function test conducted were blood urea, serum creatinine and uric acid levels. All these investigations were conducted as per standard procedures using approved commercial kits on all serum samples (four samples/vaccine - prevaccination, post vaccination samples collected one month after each dose). All serum samples from the vaccinees were assayed for the quantitative levels of Anti HBs using Hepanostika anti HBs 3.0 (Belgium) commercial kits. The anti HBs standards supplied by Sanofipasteur, France, were used to develop the calibrated linear graph by the software installed in the ELISA Reader - Biotech model ELX 800.
A titer of atleast 1mIU/mL or more was interpreted as seroconversion and a titer above 10 mIU/mL was considered as seroprotection. The arithmetic values of anti HBs were converted as geometric mean titre (GMT) of anti HBs and compared for statistical significance using paired 't' test. Results were analysed statistically using appropriate methods.

 ~ Results Top

On completion of four months, follow up was achieved in 222/240 (92.5%) adults in the Genevac B group, 68/80 (85%) in the Engerix B group and 64/80 (80%) in Shanvac B group, who were found to have received all the three doses of respective vaccine and given blood samples for all laboratory parameters in addition to periodic clinical evaluation. The dropout rates in these vaccine groups (7.5% - Genevac B, 15% - Engerix B, 20% - Shanvac B) were due to personal reasons. Analysis of physical examination for any adverse events associated with the vaccine, as enumerated in [Table - 1] revealed that pain at the site of injection and fever after the vaccine were the two symptoms that were seen almost in equal percentages in all the three groups of vaccines. Other safety parameters conducted in the study are analyzed in the [Table - 2], [Table - 3] and [Table - 4].
The haematological parameters [Table - 2] assessed before and after giving the vaccine remained essentially normal in all the three groups of vaccinees when compared with the respective prevaccination levels. Liver function tests [Table - 3] and renal function tests [Table - 4] also showed no significant changes between pre and post vaccination analysis in all the three groups. These safety parameters and the reactogenicity profile of all the three hepatitis B vaccinees analyzed in the study were with in normal limits.
The immunogenicity analysis is presented in [Table - 5]. It could be seen that the seroconversion (1mIU/mL) on completion of the short course vaccination schedule of 0, 1 and 2 months was 100% in all the three groups of vaccinees. However, when the seroprotection rates (> 10mIU/mL) were analyzed, Genevac B induced 99.5% seroprotection as against 98.5% by Engerix B and 98.4% by Shanvac B. The anti HBs levels achieved in terms of their GMT were 735.5 mIU/mL by Genevac B, 718.23 mIU/mL by Engerix B and 662.20 mIU/mL by Shanvac B. On further analysis, the difference in anti HBs level was not statistically significant (p>0.05). [Table - 6] analyses the sex wise correlation with the anti HBs levels triggered by the three hepatitis B vaccines. While Engerix B elicited a higher GMT of Anti HBs in females (1373.3 mIU/mL) than males (484 mIU/mL), Genevac B and Shanvac B induced higher GMT of Anti HBs in males (734.3 and 842.4 mIU/mL respectively) than in females (428.8 and 443.3 mIU/mL respectively).

 ~ Discussion Top

In 1993, WHO recommended that hepatitis B vaccination should be introduced in the expanded program of immunisation (EPI) of all countries by the year 1997.[7],[8] Introduction of hepatitis B vaccine into EPI has shown significant reduction in HBsAg carrier rate in Taiwan from 10% to less than 1%.[9] In view of economic factors, India is still to include this vaccine in the EPI even though induction policy has been announced.
The seroconversion and seroprotection rates in adults, neonates and children using 0,1 and 2 or 0,1 and 6 schedules are expressed by GMT values in mIU/mL. In general, data comparing immune response according to age and sex have shown that adults over 40 years of age respond less than young adults and the GMT in females are higher than those in males although seroconversion rates are similar.[10],[11],[12] Responders in younger age group have shown a GMT of about 1500 mIU/mL compared to 500 mIU/mL in the older age groups.[13] Different recombinant vaccines in children have revealed that a GMT ranging from 294 - 314 mIU/mL was achieved at the fourth month, which increased more than 20 fold with a booster at twelveth month.[14] Studies in infants and children (3 months -10 years) demonstrated that the recombinant vaccines are highly immunogenic in this age group.[10],[11],[13]
Several studies have used the standard regime of 20g dosage at 0,1 and 6 months in healthy adults resulting in a seroprotection rate of 96.5% at the seventh month with a GMT of 2204 mIU/mL.[14] When the vaccine was administered as an accelerated series at 0,1 and 2 months, the seroprotection rate at the third month was 99% with the GMT of 167 mIU/mL, as shown in an earlier study with Engerix B vaccine.[15]
In the present study, the data observed have correlated well with the earlier studies in terms of seroconversion or seroprotection rates and the GMT of Anti HBs induced after the accelerated regime.[14],[15] However, the immunogenicity response in females was observed to be lesser in Genevac B and Shanvac B administered study subjects while the females administered with Engerix B vaccine had developed a significantly higher GMT than the males in that group. Reason for this observation is not clear.
In 36 clinical trials involving 5071 healthy adults, children and infants, a total of 13,495 doses of Engerix B has been administered and the safety profile of the vaccines has been elaborated.[14] The most frequently reported adverse event was injection site pain in 13% and headache in 3%. In the present study the injection site pain was 12.5 to 13.2% and fever was observed in 1.5 to 1.8% of the vaccinated individuals in all the vaccine groups. In conclusion, the accelerated administration schedule of Genevac B was well tolerated and provided comparable seroprotection levels of immunogenicity with internationally acceptable standards.

 ~ Acknowledgement Top

The assistance extended for the conduct of this clinical trial by Serum Institute of India, Pune, is gratefully acknowledged. 

 ~ References Top

1.Centers for Disease control. Protection against Viral Hepatitis. Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP). MMWR 1990;39:5-22.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Maynard JE. Hepatitis B: global importance and need for control vaccine 1990;8:18-20.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Thyagarajan SP, Jayaram S, Mohanavalli B. Prevalence of HBV in General population of India. Hepatitis B in India - Problems and Prevention. Ed. Sarin SK, Singal AK (CBS Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi) 1995-Chapter I:5-16.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Calandra GB, West DJ. Recommendations for prevention of hepatitis B with vaccine in Hepatitis B vaccines in clinical practice. Ellis RW. Ed. (Marcel Dekker. Inc.) 1993:1-16.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Emini EA, Eliis W, Miller WJ, et al. Production and immunologic analysis of recombinant hepatitis B vaccine. J Infect 1986;13:3-9.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Stephenne J. Development and production aspects of a recombinant yeast-derived hepatitis B vaccine. Vaccine 1990;8:69-73.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Centre for Disease Control. Hepatitis B virus: A comprehensive strategy for eliminating transmission in the United States through universal childhood vaccination. Recommendation of Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) MMWR 1991;40:1-25.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.American Academy of Pediatrics, committee on infectious diseases. Universal hepatitis B immunization. Pediatrics 1991;89:795-800.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Chen HL, Chang MH, Ni YH, Hsu HY, Lee CY, Chen DS, et al. Seroepidemiology of hepatitis B virus infection in children: ten years of mass vaccination in Taiwan. JAMA 1996;276:906-908.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Safary A. Hepatitis B vaccination - Now and in future. In 'Hepatitis B in India problems and prevention'. Sarin SK and Singhal AK (eds) CBS publishers, New Delhi. 1996:132-151.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Andre FE, Path FRC. Summary of safety and efficacy data on a yeast derived hepatitis B vaccine. American J Med 1989;87:14-20.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.West DJ. Scope and design of hepatitis B vaccine clinical trials. In 'Hepatitis B vaccines' Ellis RW. Ed. (Marcel Dekker INC, New York) 1993;159-177.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.West DJ. Clinical experience with hepatitis B vaccines. Am J Infect Control 1989;17:112-180.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Rustgi K, Charles J, Schlennpner, Krause DS. Comparitive study of the immunogenicity and safety of Engerix B administered at 0,1,2 and 12 months and Recombivax HB administered at 0,1 and 6 months in healthy adults. Vaccine 1995;13:1665-1668.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Data on File. Smithkline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Kinf of Prussia, PA, 1993.  Back to cited text no. 15    
16.McMahon BJ, Wainwright RB. Protective hepatitis B vaccines in infants, children and adults in Hepatitis B vaccine in Clinical Practices. (Ed. Ellis RN Marcel Dekker INC, New York) 1993;243-261.  Back to cited text no. 16    
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