Citation Information :
Fleites YA, Aguiar J, Cinza Z, Bequet M, Marrero E, Vizcaíno M, Esquivel I, Diaz M, Sin-Mayor A, Garcia M, Martinez SM, Beato A, Galarraga AG, Mendoza-Mari Y, Valdés I, García G, Lemos G, Gonzalez I, Canaán-Haden C, Figueroa N, Oquendo R, Akbar SM, Uddin MH, Guillén GE, Muzio VL, Penton E, Aguilar J. HeberNasvac, a Therapeutic Vaccine for Chronic Hepatitis B, Stimulates Local and Systemic Markers of Innate Immunity: Potential Use in SARS-CoV-2 Postexposure Prophylaxis. Euroasian J Hepatogastroenterol 2021; 11 (2):59-70.
Introduction: More than 180 million people have been infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and more than 4 million coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients have died in 1.5 years of the pandemic. A novel therapeutic vaccine (NASVAC) has shown to be safe and to have immunomodulating and antiviral properties against chronic hepatitis B (CHB).
Materials and methods: A phase I/II, open-label controlled and randomized clinical trial of NASVAC as a postexposure prophylaxis treatment was designed with the primary aim of assessing the local and systemic immunomodulatory effect of NASVAC in a cohort of suspected and SARS-CoV-2 risk-contact patients. A total of 46 patients, of both sexes, 60 years or older, presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 were enrolled in the study. Patients received NASVAC (100 µg per Ag per dose) via intranasal at days 1, 7, and 14 and sublingual, daily for 14 days.
Results and discussion: The present study detected an increased expression of toll-like receptors (TLR)-related genes in nasopharyngeal tonsils, a relevant property considering these are surrogate markers of SARS protection in the mice model of lethal infection. The HLA-class II increased their expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cell's (PBMC's) monocytes and lymphocytes, which is an attractive property taking into account the functional impairment of innate immune cells from the periphery of COVID-19-infected subjects. NASVAC was safe and well tolerated by the patients with acute respiratory infections and evidenced a preliminary reduction in the number of days with symptoms that needs to be confirmed in larger studies.
Conclusions: Our data justify the use of NASVAC as preemptive therapy or pre-/postexposure prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 and acute respiratory infections in general. The use of NASVAC or their active principles has potential as immunomodulatory prophylactic therapies in other antiviral settings like dengue as well as in malignancies like hepatocellular carcinoma where these markers have shown relation to disease progression.
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