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Measuring vaccine efficacy for both susceptibility to infection and reduction in infectiousness for prophylactic HIV-1 vaccines.

Abstract

Current Phase III trials are designed to assess only a vaccine candidate's ability to reduce susceptibility to infection or disease, that is, vaccine efficacy for susceptibility (VES). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccination, however, may reduce the level of infectiousness of vaccinees who become infected, producing an important indirect reduction in HIV transmission even if the vaccine confers only modest protection against infection. We propose two approaches for augmenting the information of a classic trial for estimating protective efficacy that enable the additional estimation of the vaccine's effect on infectiousness, that is, vaccine efficacy for infectiousness (VEI). In the first augmentation, steady sexual partners of trial participants are recruited but not randomized to vaccine or placebo. Their infection status is monitored throughout the trial. In the second augmentation, the sexual partners are randomized. Through computer simulations and analytic methods, we investigate the feasibility and statistical properties of the augmented designs. Phase III prophylactic HIV-1 vaccines trials are currently being planned. Employment of the augmented designs described in this paper would not only provide estimation of VEI but also increase the precision of the VES estimator and the power to reject the null hypothesis of no vaccine effect.

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