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.