An investigational vaccine known as Sci-B-Vac given to babies born to women with hepatitis B was more effective at preventing HBV infection than the widely used Engerix-B vaccine, according to a report at the EASL International Liver Congress this month in London.
In countries where HBV is endemic, the virus is commonly transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery. Post-exposure prophylaxis for newborns using hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and the first shot in the HBV vaccine series reduces the risk.
Rifaat Safadi from Holy Family Hospitalin Nazareth and colleagues compared the effectiveness of Sci-B-Vac — a next-generation vaccine being developed by SciGen Limited — versus Engerix-B in preventing vertical HBV transmission. Sci-B-Vac contains 3 HBV surface proteins while Engerix-B contains only 1. Vertical transmission is common among the Arab population in Israel despite a national universal HBV immunization program, the researchers noted as background.