Background: Guidelines recommend hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination of all adults positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Immune responses to single-antigen HBV vaccine among HIV-positive patients are low when compared with HIV-negative adults. Sci-B-Vac™ is a recombinant third-generation HBV that may be advantageous in this population.
Objectives: To examine the immune responses to Sci-B-Vac among HIV-positive adults.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study involving HIV-positive adults who had negative HBV serology (HBSAg, HBSAb, HBcoreAb). Sci-B-Vac at 10 µg/dose was administered intramuscularly upon recruitment and after 1 and 6 months. HBSAb levels were checked 1 month after each dose; a level > 10 mlU/ml was considered protective. Data regarding age, gender, CD4 level, and viral load were collected.
Results: The study group comprised 31 patients. Average CD4 count was 503 ± 281 cells/ml, and average viral load was 44 copies/ml. Median interquartile range (IQR) HBVAb titers after the first, second and third immunizations were 0 (0, 3.5), 30 (6, 126) and 253 (81, 408) mlU/ml. Significant titer elevations were found between the second and third immunizations (P = 0.0003). The rate of patients considered protected was 16% after the first, 65% after the second (P < 0.0001), and 84% after the third dose (P = 0.045). No adverse events were reported. More patients under the age of 40 years responded to the first immunization (28% vs. 0%, P = 0.038). CD4 level had no influence on immunization rates.
Conclusions: Sci-B-Vac might achieve better immunization rates among HIV-positive adults compared to the single-antigen vaccine and thus deserves further evaluation in a randomized, double-blind study in this population.