Impact of previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and of S-Trimer (SCB-2019) COVID-19 vaccination on the risk of reinfection: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, phase 2 and 3 trial

SPECTRA Study Group, Igor Smolenov, Htay Htay Han, Ping Li, Carmen Baccarini, Carole Verhoeven, Frank Rockhold, Sue Ann Costa Clemens, Donna Ambrosino, Peter Richmond, George Siber, Joshua Liang, Ralf Clemens

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Background: We previously reported the efficacy of the adjuvanted-protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate S-Trimer (SCB-2019) in adults who showed no evidence of previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we aimed to investigate the extent of protection afforded by previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on subsequent COVID-19 infection, as well as the efficacy, safety, and reactogenicity of SCB-2019 in participants who were enrolled in the Study evaluating Protective-Efficacy and safety of Clover's Trimeric Recombinant protein-based and Adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine (SPECTRA) trial who had already been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 before vaccination. Methods: In a phase 2 and 3 multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial (SPECTRA) done at 31 sites in five countries, participants were randomly assigned 1:1 using the Cenduit Interactive Response Technology system (IQVIA, Durham, NC, USA), with a block size of six, to receive two doses of either SCB-2019 or placebo 21 days apart. The primary outcomes of the SPECTRA trial were vaccine efficacy, measured by real-time PCR (rtPCR)-confirmed COVID-19 of any severity, with onset from 14 days after the second vaccine dose, as well as the safety and solicited local and systemic adverse events in the phase 2 subset. Here, we present secondary analyses to calculate the protective efficacy due to previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 against reinfection with COVID-19 according to severity in SPECTRA participants who had evidence of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at baseline, including efficacy against identified viral variants, as well as efficacy of SCB-2019 vaccination in this population. Findings: We enrolled 30 174 participants between March 24, 2021, and Aug 10, 2021. In the 14 670 participants who were randomly assigned to receive placebo, there were 418 (2·8%) confirmed cases of COVID-19; 65 (0·9%) of 7339 SARS-CoV-2-exposed participants, and 353 (4·8%) of 7331 SARS-CoV-2-naive participants (attack rates of 5·5 cases per 100 person-years for SARS-CoV-2-exposed participants and 32·4 cases per 100 person-years for SARS-CoV-2-naive participants). Protective efficacy due to previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 was 83·2% (95% CI 78·0–87·3) against any COVID-19, 92·5% (82·9–97·3) against moderate-to-severe COVID-19, and 100% (59·3–100) against severe COVID-19; no SARS-CoV-2-exposed participants had hospitalisation associated with COVID-19. Protective efficacy against variants were 100% for alpha (B.1.1.7) and lambda (C.37) variants, 88·6% (14·9–99·7) for B.1.623, 93·6% (80·1–98·7) for gamma (P.1), and 92·4% (81·2–97·6) for mu (B.1.621) variants, and lowest against beta (B.1.351; 72·2% [33·1–89·9]) and delta (B.1.617.2; 77·2% [61·3–87·2]) variants. In addition, one dose of SCB-2019 had 49·9% (1·5–75·6) efficacy against any symptomatic COVID-19, and two doses had 64·2% (26·5–83·8) efficacy. SCB-2019 was well tolerated in SARS-CoV-2-exposed participants, but was associated with higher rates of injection site pain (89 [33·8%] of 263 participants) than placebo (16 [6·7%] of 239 participants). Rates of solicited systemic adverse events, severe adverse events, and serious adverse events were similar between vaccine and placebo groups, and with rates in SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccine recipients. Interpretation: Previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 decreased the risk and severity of subsequent COVID-19 infection, even against newly emerging variants. Protection is further enhanced by one or two doses of SCB-2019. Funding: Clover Biopharmaceuticals, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)990-1001
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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