The standard schedule of hepatitis B vaccination was safe and showed good immunogenicity among patients who were already infected with hepatitis C virus, according to recently published findings from China.
“Both HBC and HCV infection are major public health concerns in China,” Li Zhang, of the Academy of Preventive Medicine at Shandong University, Jinan, China, and colleagues wrote. “ Although hepatitis vaccine was recommended to the patients with chronic liver diseases by [the] Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012, to our knowledge, no data were available about the immunogenicity and safety of hepatitis B vaccination among patients with chronic HCV infection in China.”
The researchers administered a standard, 3-dose schedule of 20-µg intramuscular HBV to 79 patients with chronic HCV infection who were not currently being treated, as well as healthy controls, matched at a 2:1 ratio. Zhang and colleagues tested patients’ HBV surface antibodies 1 month after administering the final dose of vaccine, comparing results between groups. Researchers also compared each group’s interferon-, interleukin-2, interleukin-4, interleukin-5 and interleukin-6 using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay.
Patients with HCV showed a mean HBV surface antibody concentration of 810.21 mIU/mL (95% CI, 623.73-1052.45), compared with a mean of 559.85 mIU/mL in controls (95% CI, 377.38-880.38; P = 0.13).
Overall response rate was 96.2% in the HCV group (n = 76), compared with 98.74% in controls (n = 156; P = 0.23).
The HCV group had a 3.8% nonresponse rate, a 10.13% low response rate, a 45.57% normal response rate and a 40.5% high response rate, the researchers reported. Controls had a nonresponse rate of 1.26%, a low response rate of 10.13%, 39.24% normal response rate and a 49.37% high response rate (P > .05 for all). The two groups did not show significant differences in interferon-, interleukin-2, interleukin-4, interleukin-5 or interleukin-6, Zhang and colleagues wrote. (P > .05 for all).
The researchers acknowledged that the study was limited by its small sample size and because it did not evaluate any possible effect of cirrhosis on immunogenicity.
“In conclusion, this study provided preliminary evidence of the good immunogenicity and safety of HBV vaccination among chronic HCV patients in China,” Zhang and colleagues wrote. “Further studies with large samples should be conducted in the future.” – by Andy Polhamus
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.