Safety and immunogenicity of a novel mammalian cell-derived recombinant hepatitis B vaccine containing Pre-S1 and Pre-S2 antigens in neonates

Baruch Yerushalmi, Raul Raz, Orna Blondheim, Ella Shumov, Ronit Koren, Ron Dagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background. Most of the licensed hepatitis B vaccines produced by recombinant DNA contain the S protein component of the hepatitis B virus surface antigen particle but lack two important components, Pre-S1 and Pre- S2. These components have recently been shown to play an important immunogenic role by enhancing the hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) titers, stimulating response and circumventing genetic nonresponsiveness. Objective. To assess safety, tolerability and immunogenicity in neonates of a novel recombinant HBV vaccine (Bio-Hep-B®) containing the S, Pre-S1 and Pre- S2 components compared with a licensed recombinant vaccine (Engerix-B®) containing the S component only. Methods. Healthy neonates were randomized to receive either Bio-Hep-B® (2.5μg/dose) or Engerix-B® (10 μg/dose) at ages <24 h, 1 month and 6 months. Blood was obtained at ages 0, 1, 7 and 12 months. Tolerability was assessed by diary cards filled by the parents for 5 successive days after immunization. Immunogenicity was assessed by determination of anti-HBs antibody. Results. Of 205 neonates 153 were in the Bio-Hep-B® group and 52 were in the Engerix-B® group. Both vaccines were well-tolerated and all infants became seroprotected (anti-HBs >10 mIU/ml). After the first dose a significantly higher proportion of neonates seroconverted in the Bio-Hep-B® group than in the Engerix-B® group (83% vs. 34%; P < 0.001); this difference in seroresponse was even more pronounced for those achieving seroprotective concentrations (>10.0 mIU/ml) after the first dose: 54% vs. 7%, respectively (P < 0.001). Geometric mean concentrations were significantly higher at all points in the Bio-Hep-B® group. Conclusion. Both vaccines were well-tolerated and immunogenic. Bio-Hep-B®, despite its low dose, was significantly more immunogenic and elicited more rapid antibody response. This finding has implication for future vaccine programs in regions where maternal screening for hepatitis B virus surface antigen and administration of hepatitis B immunoglobulin are not routinely practiced at birth for infants of hepatitis B virus carrier mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-592
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Immunization
  • Mammalian cell
  • Neonates
  • Pre- S2
  • Pre-S1
  • Recombinant


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